The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Calabar, Cross River State, has ordered that all processes before it be filed on or before June 13.
Head of the tribunal, Justice Oken Inneh, gave the order during pre-hearing session of the tribunal, which commenced and ended during hearing of the case, yesterday.
Justice Inneh agreed with parties on the practice direction and urged the counsel to comply with it. He also ordered that all processes be filed by June 13, stressing that parties should come back on June 19 for commencement of hearing proper.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) have agreed to present 20 witnesses to prove their cases before the tribunal.
With agreed position on the schedule to proceed by parties, the petitioner and the 1st respondent will call 20 witnesses, which comprise 17 regular and three subpoenaed witnesses.
The 2nd and 3rd respondents will call 12 witnesses, comprising three regular and nine subpoenaed, while the 4th respondent will call eight witnesses, comprising seven regular and one subpoenaed witness.
In addition, the examination will not be more than 30 minutes for witnesses, and a re-examination, if any, would only last for 10 minutes, as each party has also agreed to state its case within six weeks.
Speaking at the end of the day’s proceedings, counsel to PDP, Dr. Joshua Musa, said: “Today is supposed to be continuation of pre-hearing, but tribunal observed that so many applications have been filed with written addresses in excess of permissible limit.
“So, they requested that all applications be reduced. So, we would also respond with reduced reply within the given time frame.”
On his part, counsel to Governor Bassey Otu, Mike Ozekhome, said: “The tribunal has noted the practice direction for this kind of petition, particularly in Paragraph five, to the effect that no new interlocutory injunction or written address shall exceed 10 pages and the reply five pages. All counsels must abide by this practice direction.
“Tribunal has ruled that everything needed to be done, and processes needed to be filed must all be done before the next adjournment date.”