•says INEC chairman dodging court
The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, on Wednesday, tendered Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine reports from 28 States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).
Obi equally lamented the refusal of the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Yakubu Mahmood to accept summons to appear and produce documents used for the February 25 presidential election before the PEPC.
Counsel to Obi and LP, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN) told the court on Wednesday that the INEC chairman has continuously refused to accept subpoena to produce the election documents despite efforts by the court bailiff to serve him.
However, Dr. Kemi Pinhero (SAN), representing INEC argued that it was untrue that the subpoena cannot be served on the INEC Chairman adding that it has become a pattern for the Petitioner (Obi) to look for a weeping boy.
He argued that a similar subpoena from the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party was served on INEC without hitches.
According to Pinhero, “It’s unfair and uncharitable”, for Obi’s counsel to make such a claim adding that, if there is any copy of subpoena, there is a legal department to receive the document.
He advised that if the counsel to Obi wants to ask for an adjournment they (respondent) are not opposing it, but “it would be unfair to use INEC as a weeping boy.”
But, Uzoukwu insisted that it was very clear that INEC chairman can not be served with a copy of the subpoena, and that, the court bailiff said the service was refused which he noted, can be verified from the court.
The petitioners’ counsel however said he had contacted INEC’s lead counsel, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) who has graciously requested an extra copy of the subpoena which he promised to send to the INEC boss.
Uzoukwu expressed the hope that the issue would be resolved by INEC’s counsel by the end of Wednesday’s proceedings.
Earlier, the petitioners tendered additional exhibits against the declaration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as winner of the presidential election.
The exhibits are mainly down-loads of INEC results viewing portal, I-ReV, reports which were duly certified by INEC as true copies.
The report of the results used by INEC during the election, to be used to determine the legality or otherwise of Tinubu’s return as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria were admitted by the court as exhibits
Obi, through Audu Anuga (SAN), a lawyer in his legal team, tendered I-ReV reports from seven states and Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine reports from 28 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
A breakdown of the exhibits tendered include: the download of I-ReV reports from 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Benue, 25 LGAs of Niger, 17 LGAs of Edo, 20 LGAs of Bauchi, eight LGAs of Bayelsa, eight LGAs of Gombe and 21 LGAs of Kaduna.
The petitioners also tendered supplementary I-ReV reports from two Local Government Areas of Kaduna and certificates of compliance for six states.
Meanwhile, the court has adjourned further hearing of the petition till Thursday, June 15, 2023.