Hearing in the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal took a dramatic turn on Monday as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar’s lawyers denied lawyers to President Muhammadu Buhari access to a video player in the tribunal.
Atiku and PDP had brought a 48-inch Samsung Television and Mac laptop with which they played back three videos downloaded from TV stations ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The videos, tendered and played back by Atiku’s lawyer, Chris Uche (SAN) through the former spokesman of the PDP Campaign, Segun Sowunmi, showed interviews by the INEC chairman, Prof Mahmud Yakubu and former Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini discussing the use of server for the election.
After the conclusion of evidence, Buhari’s counsel, Alex Izinyon (SAN) sought to cross examine Sowunmi with with a CD of another interview by an INEC official through the equipment brought by the petitioners, but PDP lawyers prevented him from using the equipment after one of the lawyers switched off the TV.
In his objection, Uche said “You may show the witness the CD, but what I object to is to play the CD on my equipment.” Izinyon expressed shock to the development, saying “I can’t even believe that a counsel could be so bold to go to the TV and switch it off.”
The courtroom was thrown into laughter after Uche alluded to “virus” infestation of the CD sought to be played in the equipment. He also replied that the video has not been certified in compliance with the Electoral Act.
The presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Garba said he expects the lawyers to show good example by continuing to cooperate in the course of the matter. He said he would not want the matter to degenerate into professional misconduct.
Consequently, the matter was adjourned to Tuesday to enable the Buhari legal team present their own video equipment to the tribunal.