Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 25 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his party will, on Thursday, close their case in their joint petition challenging the declaration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the election.
The petitioners, according to a pre-hearing report, were supposed to close their case on Tuesday, but lead Counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), brought to the notice of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) that they lost two days out of the days allotted to them and asked that the two days be returned to them.
The petitioners, who told the court during the pre-hearing session that they would call 100 witnesses, have, however, called 25 so far.
Chief Uche told journalists that they intend to call five more witnesses before closing their case.
Uche also said some of the documents to be tendered in the remaining two days would cover up for the remaining witnesses.
Meanwhile, the Tribunal witnessed a heated day as an expert witness of the Labour Party (LP) from Amazon Web Services Incorporated USA returned to the witness box for cross-examination.
The witness, Clareta Ogar, who identified herself as a cloud engineer and cloud architect, had earlier told the court that there were no technical glitches that could have affected the e-transmission of results on February 25.
She was put through a series of questions that got the proceedings heated.
The defence counsel alleged that her appointment verification letter bore “Employee Resource Centre” and not Amazon Web Services (AWS) Incorporated, adding that there is no identification card from Amazon confirming her as an employee.
An attempt by the LP counsel to intervene by insisting the witness had responded appropriately led to a reprimand by the Justices, who cautioned him for disrupting proceedings. “You are going about this as if you are in parliament. You are a senior counsel, Ikwueto; there are juniors behind you”, the presiding judge told the LP counsel.
The next most senior member on the panel, Justice Stephen Adah, said, “Please don’t interject if you don’t want us to take meaner action against you.”
Ikwueto, however, insisted that he was only trying to help the court, and the court directed the respondents to proceed with the cross-examination.
In response to why the witness did not tender her identification card, she responded that AWS does not issue identification cards and that the Employee Resource Centre of the company issues all employment verifications from Amazon Web Services.
She also denied being in court as a representative of the company she works for and on the mandate of Amazon Web Services but as an expert witness subpoenaed to speak as a cloud engineer.
This led to further questioning on how she got the report she submitted before the court, and she responded that they are public information posted on the Amazon Web Service.
Asked whether the report she submitted was a product of Amazon, but she claimed ownership of it on the ground that she was the one that submitted it before the court.
The court also noted, based on her admittance, that the subpoena that compelled her appearance was not delivered to the company she works for but to her in person.
This led to a digging into the witness’s background, who confirmed that she is a member of the Labour Party and that she contested for a House of Reps election in her constituency in Cross River State, which she lost but denied allusions that she is a Labour Party activist.
On further questioning, the witness confirmed that she had sued INEC after it failed to publish her name in the final list of candidates; and that her main complaint was that she could not upload her information on the INEC
website due to network failure. However, she refused to accept that a network failure is a form of a glitch.
The respondents’ counsel also read out information showing periods in which the Amazon cloud services suffered glitches globally on February 27, 2017. While the witness confirmed that the glitch actually occurred, she held on to the position that the health status report as of the day of the presidential election on February 25, 2023, showed there was no glitch on the infrastructure that hosted applications and accounts, including that of INEC