Lagos — ABUJA-Presidential flag-bearer of the opposition Action Congress (AC), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has rejected the decision by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja stopping civil servants, foreign election observers and media chiefs from testifying in the petition he filed against the electoral victory of President Umaru Yar'Adua in the last general poll.
He has already filed a notice of appeal at the registry of the Court of Appeal, Abuja for onward transmission to the Supreme Court to challenge the decision.
The Court of Appeal sitting as Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, had last week, declined a request by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to subpoena some witnesses whom he described as crucial to his case to give evidence in his petition.
The presiding Justice of the tribunal, Justice James Ogebe had said that the application was unneccesary and lacking in merit.
Those subpoenaed by Atiku to testify and produce documents included, the Country Representative to the European Union Observation Mission, Abuja; the National Secretary, Justice Development & Peace/Caritas Nigeria, (formerly Justice Development and Peace Commission) National Headquarters, Catholic Secretariat Abuja.
Others are the Chairman/Chief Executive Daar Communications Ltd, African Independent Television (AIT) Abuja; the Managing Director/Chief Executive, Channels Television, Abuja; the National Coordinator, Transition Monitoring Group, Abuja, the Director General, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Abuja; the Country Representative International Crisis Group Abuja; the Country Representative Human Rights Watch Abuja; The Director General, Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Lagos; the Country Director National Democratic Institute Abuja and the Country Representative International Republican Institute Abuja.
In a Notice of Appeal filed at the registry of the Court of Appeal and dated 28th November, 2007, Atiku and his party, who are co-petitioners, are asking the apex court for "an order granting leave to the Petitioners to seek directions as to the further conduct of this case, pre-trial session having ended and trial commenced".
They also wanted an order "deeming the leave granted to the Petitioners on Tuesday, 27th day of November, 2007 to formally apply for further direction as good and sufficient to enable Petitioner seek prayer below".
The prayer three in question is "a direction permitting the witnesses subpoenaed by the Honourable Court to produce documents and testify on such documents on behalf of the Petitioners to be allowed to personally tender the said documents in their possession and give oral testimony thereof subject to their being cross-examined by the Respondents (if need be)."