The big lie that may have ruined Otti's tribunal case

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Q. Can you tell the Court where you attended University for your FIRST degree?
Ans. Schella Unversity in England ( if actually I heard that name well )
Q. Which year was that?
Ans. 1980-1984, then 1984-1985- Post Degree, 1985-1986- Mentioned a degree in Masters, Economic Development........etc,
Note: At this juncture, the Learned SAN rhetorically asked "all these you just mentioned is your 1st degree?".
Q. You earlier told the Court that you were admitted to the Inner Temple?
Ans. Yes.
What year was that?
Ans. 1998-1999.

Q. When were you called to Bar in England?
Ans. 1999.
Q. In what month?
Ans. I cannot remember the month.
Q. A Nigerian Lawyer, can he go to England and start practicing law automatically because he is a legal practitioner in Nigeria?
Ans. Lawyers from Nigeria, who do the Conversion Course are allowed to practice in England.
Q. Does England have a Legal Practitioners Act?
Ans. Yes!
Q. Do you have an idea of when it was enacted?
Ans. No!
Q. Is there a dichotomy in practicing in England as a Barrister and as a Solicitor?
Ans. Yes.
Q. Are you telling this Court that a person who is a Barrister in England can describe himself as a Legal Practitioner in England?
Ans. You either go to Law School and be called to Bar as a Barrister or you go for the Solicitor's training to be soliciting and providing legal services. Until recently in 90s, Solicitors will not appear to argue cases of their clients. Rules were relaxed to secure Solicitors' rights of audience in Court. With that, Solicitors acquired the status of Legal Practitioners.
Q. Then, can a Solicitor from England come to Nigeria and be addressed as a Legal Practitioner based on the Legal Practitioners Act ( being the law regulating the operation of Legal Practitioners in Nigeria )?
Ans. I don't know as I never practiced in Nigeria and I have never being a Solicitor anywhere.
Q. A barrister in England, can he come to Nigeria and be addressed as a Legal Practitioner in Nigeria?
Ans. I have never practiced in Nigeria.
Observation: I think Chief Nweke cleverly dodged that question.
Q. A Barrister in England, can he use the title " Legal Practitioner " before any proceeding in any Court or Tribunal within the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
Ans. I can in any part of the World describe myself as a Legal Practitioner.
PAUSE: LITTLE BRAINSTORMING! Friends, if a Medical Doctor from Nigeria goes to USA and he is asked in Court, "what do you do for a living, what will be his answer"? I think whatever applies in this my hypothetical scenario will equally apply in Nweke's case.
Q. This deposition made on 15/05/2015, where you aware it was made for a Tribunal sitting in Umuahia?
Ans. I know it was going for a Tribunal sitting in Umuahia.
NOTE: Counsel applied for the Witness to have a look at his deposition that runs from pages 185-248.
Q. Point to the particular page where you described yourself as a Legal Practitioner in England?
Ans. The witness deposition on oath is a skeleton. It is the cross examination that helps a witness to explain what is in the skeleton.
Q. I put it to you that you did not depose to any fact that you are a Legal practitioner in England.
Ans. I did NOT say it is England or Nigeria.
Note! The above answer is contradictory of the whole averments.
Q. From the questions taken by the 1st and 2nd Respondents, you are not a Legal Practitioner in Nigeria?
Ans. I am not.
Q. By that confirmation coupled with your opening paragraph, all your averments in your affidavit are false?
Ans. They are not false.
Q. Did you vote during the elections?
Ans. Yes!
Q. Tell the Court where you cast your vote?
Ans. Unit 001, Ward 10 in Okporo Ahaba, Isialangwa South.
Q. After casting your vote on 11/04/2015, what next did you do?
Ans. I entered my vehicle to see what was happening in other LGs because I received a phone call from my LG Agents.
Q. Where you a State Collation Agent for APGA on 11th and 25th April elections?
Ans. Yes I was.
Q. On the day of the elections, where you in any Polling Unit in Obingwa, Osisioma, Ugwunagbo, Isialangwa South and Umunneochi?
Ans. I was in OBINGWA when I left my Polling Unit. I later went to Osisioma, Ugwunagbo but I could not go to Umunneochi and it was nit at the sane time.
That was all for the witness.

Instead of calling their next Witness, Chief Akin Olujunmi SAN for the Petitioners informed the Court of a Motion they filed the previous day wherein they are praying the Court for two things: (1) An Order asking the Court to modify the pretrial report to enable the parties make some amendments with respect to time of hearing. (2) An Order for extension of time. However, Tayo Oyetibo SAN for the 1st Respondent quickly informed the Court that the said Motion was not ripe for hearing and that adjournment which the Petitioners' Counsel was asking for is not proper in law at that moment.
Court therefore instructed all the Counsel to address him on that point.
Having filed the Motion and the Respondents are yet to file their response, I pray the Court to grant adjournment. If they fail to file tomorrow, we can come back on Monday to hear our Motion. Our prayer is that my lord modifies the pretrial report and grant extension of time.
My lord, I understand my learned brother asking for an adjournment because his Motion is not ripe for hearing. That us a normal application because we have not filed our reply to that Motion.
However, their time expired yesterday. But by agreement of parties, we shifted the cross examination of their witness to today being Thursday. And there was no extension of time. It has two legal implications:
(1) Equity regards as done that which ought to be done. The Petitioners' case is deemed to have been closed at the end of cross examination of PW20.
(2) Our right to open our case has become vested. We now have a problem in opening our case. Two witnesses have been compelled to attend proceedings of today at great expense- one with a family issue and the other one on health ground that requires him traveling out of the Country. We can take the two witnesses.
My lord, what the Petitioners are asking for is stay of proceedings. It means, don't take the witnesses of the 1st Respondent until the Motion they filed VERY LATE is heard.
Your lordship said yesterday that he will not stay proceedings because of them.
Also, as we speak, their time has expired. And until their time is extended, they have no business in our own time. My lord will remember that because of the abridgment of time, we could not cross examine their witnesses fully. If time is extended, it equally follows that their already cross examined witnesses should be recalled for us to take on them again. This Tribunal was shot down on 12/08/2015 at their instance, they cannot benefit from their own wrong. See Green vs Green.
The 3rd Respondent Counsel had to associate himself with the submissions of the 1st and 2nd Respondents' Counsel.
OLUJUNMI SAN in his reply of point of law reminded the Court of its powers to extend time. He relied on para 54 of the Electoral Act. He observed that their application was made before and not at the expiration of time. He argued that it is only when the Plaintiff has closed his case that the defendant can open.
COURT: The tribunal in its brief Ruling OVERRULED the Petitioners' Counsel and asked the 1st Respondent's ( Dr Okezie Ikpeazu ) Counsel- Tayo Oyetibo SAN to open their case by calling their witnesses.
This is how the Petitioners closed their case.


Posted on August, 23 2015

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