How Tinubu, APC abruptly closed their defence in Peter Obi, Labour Party case

Senior lawyers in court at the PEPC proceedings.


President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), at the sitting of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) Abuja, yesterday unsuspectingly and abruptly announced the closure of their case against the petition raised by the Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi challenging Tinubu’s declaration as president.

The duo closed their case after calling a star witness, Opeyemi Bamidele, a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who was made senate majority leader on Tuesday prio to his assignment on Wednesday. He is an Attorney in New York, USA.

Apart from the witness, Tinubu and APC through their lawyers, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, and Lateef Fagbemi, SAN tendered 18 documents which were admitted in evidence by PEPC.

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which hitherto stood in support of Tinubu and APC also closed its own case without calling any witness.

The entire proceedings of what transpired in court yesterday is hereby reproduced:

The judges are seated.
Datti: May it please this honourable court, I am Datti Baba-Ahmed for the Petitioners.
APC – Odunsoya Damilola George, Legal Officer APC
INEC is absent today
Lead Counsel:
Labour Party – Livy Uzoukwu, SAN. 
INEC – AB Mahmoud, SAN.
Tinubu and Shettima – Wole Olanipekun, SAN.
APC – LO Fagbemi, SAN.
Olanipekun is now up with the microphone 
Olanipekun.: May it please my noble lords, today’s matter is for the 2nd and 3rd respondents, but before we go on, we want to tender some documents from the bar.We have served our colleagues with all these documents.My lords, there are 18 items on the schedule, and with my lords permission, we will tender all before we call out our witnesses.
 *NOTE* They brought some witnesses today
Olanipekun has just presented a document he said was received from the US Embassy as regards Tinubu.
The letter was signed by Tafa Balogun, the ex IGP, and received from the US Embassy and signed by Micheal Omar from the US Embassy.
Olanipekun has just tendered this document now.
INEC and APC did not oppose this documents.

Livy is up: My lord, we vehemently oppose this document and do not consent, and we would give our reasons when it’s time for the final address.
Justice Tsammani has now admitted the documents as evidence before the court tagged as RA8 and RA9.
Olanipekun is now up with the microphone: My lord, we now go to item 3 which is the University Certificate of the 2nd Respondent from Chicago University signed by the Associate General Counsel of Legal Affairs, Chicago State University which the certification was done on 28 June 2023 with a receipt of $1,000 paid for this certification.
INEC and APC did not object to this university certificate. 

Livy: My lord, we object to this document, and we would state our reasons in full with our final address.
Justice Tsammani has now admitted this certificate from Chicago State University as evidence before the court and tagged it as RA10.
Olanipekun: Thank you, my lord. We now seek to tender items 4 and 5, which are the Nigerian passport of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and item 5, which is the data page of the passport dated 20th November 2019.
INEC and APC had no objections to this document. 
Livy for Peter Obi and Labour Party objected to the document presented by Olanipekun. 
Justice Tsammani and Justice Adah can be seen murmuring with each other.
All the judges are now writing down the description of these documents.
Justice Tsammani has now admitted the documents as evidence before the court.
Olanipekun: Thank you, my lords. With your kind permission, we now take items 6,7,8, and 9 together. Item 6 is the US visa issued in February 2011. Item 7 is the data page of the 2nd respondent issued on 12th July 2017. Item 8 is the Visa page 25th July 2019. Item 9 is the Visa Page issued on 18th November 2021, which is my birthday. 
INEC and APC did not object. 
Livy for Labour Party objected to these documents.
Justice Tsammani has now admitted the documents as evidence before the court.
Olanipekun: My lord, we now seek to tender Item 10 and 11, which I will take together. Item 10 is the submission of the registration letter of membership of the 2nd petitioner dated 25th April 2022. Item 11 is the register of the 2nd Petitioner (Peter Obi) members in Anambra State as certified by the 1st respondents.
APC and INEC did not object to these documents. 
Labour Party has objected to the documents tendered.
Justice Tsammani has now admitted these documents as evidence before the court and tagged them as RA16 and RA17.
Olanipekun is up again: Thank you, my lord. Now, I wish to tender the Certified True Copy of the Report of the Committee on the location of the Federal Capital of Nigeria.
INEC and APC did not object to these documents
Labour Party has objected to the documents.
Justice Tsammani has now admitted the documents as evidence before the court.
Olanipekun: I now seek to tender Item 13 and 14, my lord.Item 13 is the copy of EC8D of Kano State in respect of the February 25 presidential election.Item 14 is the CTC of form EC8D of the presidential election on 25th Feb 2023.
INEC and APC, as usual, did not object to Tinubu’s lawyers’ document 
Livy is looking at the documents and turning it page by page. Everyone is waiting for him.SAN Livy: My lords, we are not objecting to these Certified True Copies in agreement to our decisions during the Pre-Hearing on CTC’s
Justice Tsammani has now admitted the documents and tagged them as evidence.
Olanipekun: Thank you, my lord. I now seek to separate Item 15. My lord, may I crave your indulgence to correct the dates of the acknowledgment copy of the 3rd respondent (Shettima) voluntary withdrawal of candidacy from Borno State Central Senatorial District which should be dated 16th July 2022 and not 16th Feb 2023.
INEC and APC did not object.
Livy objected to the document
Justice Tsammani has now admitted the documents as evidence tagged as exhibit RA22.
Olanipekun: Much obliged, my lord. My lord, we now tender item 16, which was gotten from your learned brothers at the Supreme Court for the case between PDP and the 3rd respondent delivered on 26 May 2023 Much obliged, my lord.
Justice Tsammani and Justice Adah are talking with each other and laughing.
INEC and APC had no objections
Labour Party has objected to the document.
Justice Tsammani has admitted the documents as evidence and tagged it as exhibit RA23.
Olanipekun: Thank you for your patience, my lord. I now seek to tender together Items 17 and 18, which is the last 2 Item.Item 17 is a copy of page 28 of the Nigerian Tribune newspaper dated 23 Feb 2023, and Item 18 is page 27 of the Nigerian tribune newspaper, also dated 23 Feb 2023. Much obliged, my lord.
INEC and APC did not object
SAN Livy: No objection, no wait, we object 
‘The whole courtroom is laughing’
Livy: My lord, we object, the cooperation has ended, it’s only for confirmed CTCs.
Justice Tsammani: No, oh, cooperation must not end. Just suspend it, but continue it to the end of the case.
Justice Tsammani has now admitted the documents as evidence.
Olanipekun: My lord, we are ready to continue, oh, but on a lighter note, there’s no one I can delicate to, even Onoja just stepped out, and he’s not back.They have all stepped out, and they are not back, but we are ready. Oh, we are ready to call our witness now, but my colleagues have all stepped out. But we are ready to continue, but we are all humans. Just give us a break, but we are ready. Oh.
Justice Tsammani with a big laugh on his face: Okay, go and put yourself together, we will rise for 10 minutes and come back.
Justice Tsammani: Okay, let’s rise for 10 minutes
The court has now gone on a 10-minute recess.
Alright, the judges are back 
Olanipekun is up with the microphone. 
Olanipekun: My lord, we lost one of our most vibrant justices of this court.We never knew until we had our short break.He was very sincere and humble and nearly all of us here knew him, met with him and appeared before him both at the lower court bench at the Enugu Court to his time rising to the number 2 of this court. My lords accept our condolences, and at the appropriate time, we will do it at individual bases.
Justice Tsammani: Thank you very much, and we appreciate it. We have not received any official communication from the President of the Court, and that’s why we have not said anything. We appreciate the condolences, but we can not do anything pending the time we get the official information.
Olanipekun: Okay, my lord. We will now call out our witness.
The witness is now out and walking to the box.He has now been sworn in.
Olanipekun is now presenting the witness to the court
Olanipekun: What is your name
W: I am Senator Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele
O: What is your occupation and qualifications
W: I am a lawmaker
Justice Tsammani: So you’re a legislator 
W: Yes, and I have a Bachelors in arts from the University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo and a law degree from the University of Benin and I also went to law school, so I am a Barrister.I also have LLM in New Hampshire United State Law School and I am also licensed at Law at US and I am an attorney at the New York bar and a counsellor at law where I practised law since January 1999.I am also a fellow of the Chartered Institutes of Arbitrators in Nigeria.
O: All these are contained in your resume
W: Yes 
O: Where is it
W: It’s here
O: My lord, I seek to tender this.
There was no objection to the tendering of his resume.
Justice Tsammani has now admitted the resume as evidence.
*NOTE* This witness is the new Senate Majority Leader.
Olanipekun: You have a witness deposition, and if you see it, can you recognize it
W: Yes
O: Do you wish to adopt this statement 
W: Yes 
O: In paragraphs 31, 32, 49, 51, 101, 114, and 119 of your witness deposition, you have referred to several deponents 
W: Yes, Sir
O: Can you look at these exhibits RA8, RA9, RA10, RA11, RA12, RA13, RA14, RA15, RA16, RA17, RA18, RA19, RA20, RA21, RA22, RA23, RA24 and RA25 are those the documents you tendered 
W: Yes, Sir
O: In your witness deposition in paragraphs 101 and 104, you stated Kano State and stated 10,929 votes shortfall for the 2nd respondent (Tinubu) in Kano State. Can you recognize the forms EC8D and EC8DA of it
W: Yes, Sir, it’s in column 9
O: You also mentioned a report of international observers of the presidential election of 25th Feb 2023 
W: Yes
O: If you see one of the reports in specific ECOWAS, can you recognize it
W: Yes, Sir
O: Thank you. Can you tell us who signed that document ECOWAS Observation Report.
W: Yes. It was signed by the Head of ECOWAS jurisdiction to Nigeria.His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma, former President of Sierra Leone.
O: We seek to tender it, my lord.
Justice Tsammani: Any objections
INEC: No objections from here, my lord
APC: No objections, my lord
LP: SAN Livy is up and smiling and starts by laughing.My lord, we object to this slim document from ECOWAS, and we will state our reasons at the final address.
Justice Tsammani has now admitted the ECOWAS “slim” report as evidence before the court and has tagged it as exhibit RA27.
O: Thank you, my lord. The last question Sir, let’s go back to your paragraph 19 and 114 where you referred to a letter from the 2nd petitioner forwarding letter dated 22nd Feb 2022 to INEC and the 2nd petitioner members of Anambra state registrar submitted to INEC, if you see them can you recognize it.
W: Yes, Sir, I recognize it 
O: May it please my lords, that wouldbe all from our own side. May I appreciate your lordships.
INEC is now up
INEC: Distinguised Senator
W: Yes, sir
INEC: I have no question for you 
“The whole courtroom is laughing”
APC is now up
APC: My lord, please pause my time until I get the documents 
Justice Tsammani: Your time starts now
APC: Okay. Witness, you are a member of the judiciary, and just yesterday, the Senate Majority Leader
W: Yes, Sir
APC: The member of the registrar of Anambra State from INEC you submitted does not contain the name of Peter Obi as a member of the Labour Party.
W: Yes, it does not
APC: As a US attorney, you know they can not be a charge or indictment on certain cases.
W: I do
APC: Very good. If you look at exhibit RA8 and RA9, you know that those documents and exhibits give the 2nd respondent a clean bill of health on any criminal record.
W: Yes
APC: Excellent, please give me exhibit PA5. It does not contain any conviction or sentence on it.
W: No, it does not 
APC: I don’t need to embarrass you. Do you have your US membership papers
W: Yes, I do
APC: I seek to tender the New York Attorney membership here, my lord.
‘The whole courtroom is now murmuring.
Justice Ugo and Justice Adah can be seen talking closely and whispering.

Justice Tsammani: Is it American Bar or New York? 
W: It’s done on a state basis by the US. After 5 years, you can move freely across, but everyone is a member of the American Bar
Justice Tsammani: But it does not state anything here. It does not say New York. I’d just call it American Bar from New York.This one is a complementary card and not an ID card.
APC: It’s not, sir
Justice Adah: Witness, is this not a complementary card
W: It is my practice card that is complementary 
‘Everyone laughed’
Justice Tsammani: We can not take this one. It’s a complementary card, but other things can be tendered 
W: Okay, Sir
APC: As the court pleases
Justice Tsammani: These 2 cards here are the same. 
APC: Yes ,Sir
Justice Tsammani: We are going to use only 1. Why did you submit 2 of the same.
W: Yes it’s the same
Justice Ugo: You people have started taking us to the cloud again
‘The whole courtroom is laughing’
Justice Tsamamni: Give them back this one. We’d use just one.
INEC: My lord, we don’t know what exactly is being tendered. Is it the membership card that is being accepted.
Justice Bolaji: Show it to him.
A clerk takes the card to INEC.
Justice Tsamamni: Which of the cards should we use now, witness.
W: Anyone, I have them many, and anyone is fine
Justice Tsammani: Which one is the latest
Witness is staring at the cards and passes one.
INEC: No objection to the membership cards, my lord
Olanipekun: No objection.
SAN Livy: My lord, to make it very short, we vehemently oppose this purported  so-called membership card from American Bar, and we would state our reasons in full.
Justice Tsammani has admitted the card as evidence and tagged it as exhibits before the court.
APC: The last question, my lord. As a long-standing friend of Bola Ahmed Tinubu for over 35 years, you know that his Nigerian citizenship is by birth.
W: Yes, Sir
APC: Thank you. That would be all.
SAN Livy is now up and tapping the microphone 
Livy: In your witness deposition, you stated that you would rely on international observers’ reports right.
W: Yes
Livy: So, have you seen the European Union report. Take a look at this document. That’s the EU Report, right
W: So it is written, Sir.
Justice Bello: What exhibit is that
Livy: My lord, not yet rendered in this proceeding. I seek to tender it, my lord.
INEC is up: We object to these documents, my lord 
Olanipekun is up looking angry and speaking with a very loud voice: My lord , I expected Livy to tell us he is tendering CTC of an exhibit already before this case in the court tagged exhibit RA8
Justice Bolaji: Not in this case Olanipekun
Olanipekun: It’s in this case that it has been tendered in this case.
Justice Adah: It’s PDP’s case
Olanipekun looking down: Oh okay, we object to it, my lord.
APC: We object my lord
Justice Tsamamni: Livy, please give us the documents

Justice Tsammani has now admitted the documents as evidence before the court.
SAN Livy: Please, my lord, can I respectfully request for the exhibit and use it for now to save time.
Justice Tsammani: Yes
Livy: I just want to read page 60, paragraph 6(20), to you.
Livy reads it out loud to the court.It states that results were not readable and not posted on IREV.
Livy: My lord, let me now go to the ECOWAS one, RA27, read paragraph 17 for us witness.
W: Witness reads it out
‘The witness reads it out loud, and it states that a lot of people were killed, including Labour Party Senatorial Candidate’
Noise in the courtroom
W: After reading the ECOWAS paragraph 17, says: I do not agree with the report
W: I agree with the final statement, but I don’t agree with that part of the report 
Livy: So you don’t agree
W: Yes, I was there, and the things that happened are IPOB
Livy: Oh, IPOB this electoral violence in all these places, including Kano 
W: Yes
The whole courtroom is laughing 
Livy: You do not have a licence to practice law in the US
W: It is done by State
Livy: Do you have a licence for Illinois’s
W: I have a licence for New York
Livy: Okay. So, for the forfeiture of $460,000 in the account of the 2nd respondent, the court stated the money represents the proceeds of narcotics.Is it true?
W: Well, what is contained in the district court was a civil forfeiture and not criminal because section 981
Livy: I asked you a question, it was for Narcotics Trafficking 
Witness starts to stammer: Yes, and the money was forfeited as civil.
Livy: You have not rendered any license in this court that says you can study law in New York. Have you
W: I did not, Sir
Livy: American Bar Association is a voluntary association 
W: Yes, it is, but you must be licensed in one of the states in the US
Livy: Have you accessed IREV
W: No I’ve not (stammering)
Livy: So you can not tell us it’s not blurred
W: I can
The whole courtroom is laughing
Livy: The American Court relied on money laundering law in their decision, right?
W: It was 981 section and not 982
Livy: Did they rely on the constitution on money laundering 
W: Ehmmm… It’s 982
Livy: Did they rely on it
W: They relied on 982
Livy: Did you see the letter that the IG of police get from the US Embassy 
W: Yes
Livy: Did you tender it
W: it was tendered
Livy: Did you tender it
W: It was tendered 
Livy laughing: That’s fine. Did the report state any response on money laundering allegations.
W: It’s a general response. They didn’t see anything on Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Olanipekun cuts in, let him answer, please
Livy: I am on my feet, and you’re taking my time
Olanipekun: Your time is up already. I have no business with it
Livy: I am on my feet
Justice Tsammani: Go on, Livy
Livy: Witness, does that US Embassy report you brought here show response on money laundering 
W: No, it does not
Livy: Very good. So, the report does not address any issue
W: Well, the money laundering is not a criminal case
Livy: Oh. Okay. That’s not what I asked you, but thank you for that response
Olanipekun: His time is up
Livy: That’s okay. I’m done 
Justice Ugo: I hope Livy does not have to appear before this witness one day in the Senate
The whole courtroom is laughing 
Livy: I am not in a hurry to leave what I’m doing here, my lord 
Olanipekun: There is no re-examination, my lord

And at this point I’d like to tell you that this one witness stands for both the 2nd and 3rd respondents (Tinubu and Shettima) And that would be all for our case.

Olanipekun: My lord, we now seek to close our case, and that would be all
Everyone is shocked.
So they don’t have anybody to defend Tinubu, I thought Tinubu raised mighty men Nobody can come and collect gbas gbos on his behalf in court. 
Justice Tsamani: So, any objection to them?
There was no objection to them closing the case.
APC lawyer Fagbemi is now up
APC: My lord, we would like to tell you that the witness appeared for all of us, including the 4th respondent.
The entire courtroom is murmuring loudly.
The judges are talking with one other and staring at the lawyers.
‘APC can not defend their own case either’.
APC: My lord, your judges have gone through a lot and need to rest while we…. Livy you’re distracting me. Please stop talking.
Livy: You don’t want to bring more witnesses because you don’t want to damage your case further. Bring witnesses, please. I want to greet them.
APC: Please, you don’t have any case here. Do yourself a favour and just withdraw the case.
‘The whole courtroom goes, Ahn Ahn’
Livy starts laughing loudly: Close your case Fagbemi, you don’t have any evidence, and you don’t have anything to say.
APC: Well, Livy, go and write your written address. My lord, we don’t have any more witnesses, and we hereby seek to close our case.
*PLEASE NOTE* APC has also just closed their own case. Their case should last 2 weeks, but they all used only 2 days with only 1 witness.
There was no objection to APC also closing its case today.
Justice Tsammani: Very well, all respondents have 10 days each to file the written addresses. The petitioners have 7 days for the written addresses’ reply, and there would be 5 days to file. The court will notify everyone on the date for adoption.
Justice Adah: I’d miss you all. 
INEC: I hope my lord will miss some things on our side, too
Olanipekun: My lord, we have all agreed that our objection will be filed separately, and it would contain 10 pages, and our final addresses will contain 40 pages. I want to thank my lords for all the cooperation.
Justice Tsammani: Okay. We will inform you all about the dates.
The court has risen.