By Tai Emeka Obasi
Lovers of drama had a full dose yesterday at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting at the Abuja Appeal Court.
When the petitioners almost occupied every available space besides seats with tons of materials of about 50 boxes from Niger, Jigawa, Kebbi and Yobe States to be tendered as exhibits, there was open exchange of eyebrows within the respondents teams of INEC, Buhari and APC.
And it didn’t take long before they unified in vehement objections that they were not prepared for such level of materials tendering.
But before then, the presence of Prof Ben Nwabueze in court, taking over the legal team of Atiku and PDP, asking for and getting granted express permission by the panel to address the court while sitting in his wheelchair, had elevated legal drama to its zenith, more so when the 88-year old legal icon addressed the court in a short but landmark opening statement.
The renowned constitutional luminary said he defied age and health conditions to be in court because, ” the determination of the petition will certainly impact on future elections and constitutionalism in the country.
Most people in court including dignitaries like HE Peter Obi, Prof ABC Nwosu, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Chief Tom Ikimi, Prof. ABC Nwosu, Amb. Maisule, Chief Dubem Onyia, Chief Onyeama Ugochukwu, Chief Abiye Sekibo, Engr. Dr. Jide Adeniji, Hon. Fabiyi Oladimeji, Mazi Dickson Iroegbu, Mrs. Chinasa Nnorom, Ms Ada Fredrick, Dr. Sanni and others sensed it wasn’t going to be business as usual for the respondents when a personality like Prof Nwabueze was live in court to flag off the petitioners’ hearing.
And so it proved after a 30-minute recess with the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Tribunal dismissing the respondents’ call for adjournment.
Dr. Livy Uzoukwu took over as Prof Nwabueze had left the court after being excused. Tendering of materials started and would continue till 4.00 pm as directed by the chairman.