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Atiku, PDP tender more documents at PEPC

…INEC Chairman to testify in Atiku, PDP’s petition challenging Tinubu’s victory

 

The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party, petitioners at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) sitting in Abuja have tendered more documentary evidence in their joint petition against Tinubu’s election.

 

At Tuesday’s proceedings, Atiku and PDP’s lead counsel called the 19th and 20th Petitioners’ witnesses, Dr. Alex Adum Ter and Captain Olatunji Shelle who identified and adopted their witness statements on oath and tendered them as their evidence in the matter.

INEC, Tinubu and the APC, who are first to third respondents in the petition all objected to the admissibility of the witness statements on oath and told the court that they will give the grounds for their various objections at the final address stage. The court admitted the statements as exhibits.

Among other documents tendered through the 19th witness witness, who is a star witness of the petitioners are three flash drives containing videos of INEC chairman, Prof Yakubu Mahmood, INEC’s National Commissioner, Mr Festus Okoye assuring Nigerians of the preparedness of INEC for a hitch-free conduct of the February 25 presidential election as well as a press briefing by the European Union election observer mission.

Attached to the flash drives, were duly certified certificates of authenticity and the transcripts of the videos which were tendered as exhibits in accordance with Section 84 of the Evidence Act.

The videos were played in the open court.

While counsel to INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) did not object to the admissibility of the documents, Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), and Solomon Umoh for the Tinubu and that APC respectively objected to the tendering of the documents and said, they will give their reasons for the objection at the final stage of address.

The petitioners also tendered INEC’s certified true copies of screenshots of the I-ReV report with a certificate of authenticity as well as the I-ReV portal report of 9,403 polling units yet to be uploaded as of March 1, 2023.

The five-member panel of Justices of the court, presided by Justice Haruna Tsammani reserved a ruling on the objection to the admissibility of the documents to the judgement day.

In his evidence-in-chief, Dr. Ter told the court that he was the national coordinator of the national situation room of the PDP during the election and INEC’s manual and guidelines for the conduct of the 2023 presidential election were tendered through him.

He said INEC did not transmit election results to its electronic collation system as well as the I-ReV portal and added that “Presidential election result was not transmitted real-time. Out of the over 176, 000 polling units across the country, results of 9,403 polling units were not uploaded as at the time the final result was announced on March 1”.

Led in evidence by Petitioners’ lead counsel, the 20th petitioners’ witness, Captain Olatunji Shelle, a retired Naval Officer said there were reported cases of ballot box snatching during the election.

He alleged that election results were manipulated by INEC to favour President Tinubu, who is the second respondent in the petition marked, CA/PEPC/05/2023.

Meanwhile, Atiku Abubakar and the PDP told the PEPC that they will be inviting the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Yakubu Mahmood to appear in court and give evidence in their joint petition challenging the declaration of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.

At the proceedings of Tuesday, lead counsel to the petitioners, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) told the court that the INEC boss will be subpoenaed to appear in court to tender documents in their petition challenging Tinubu’s election.

The court adjourned further hearing of the petition till Wednesday, June 14, 2023.

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