The Presidential Election Petitions Court on Saturday struck out two applications made by Mr. Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP) to request interrogatories (more information) from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). But counsel to the Petitioners, Chief Jibrin Okutepa Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN)in an interview with journalists shortly after the ruling said:”
The Presidential Election Petitions Court on Saturday struck out two applications made by Mr. Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP) to request interrogatories (more information) from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
But counsel to the Petitioners, Chief Jibrin Okutepa Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN)in an interview with journalists shortly after the ruling said:” the ruling has no devastating consequences as you may be thinking of” adding:” there are many ways of killing a rat”. According to him, the interrogatories had to do with with the purported technical glitches INEC said happened on the presidential election day.
The court had in a unanimous decision said counsel to the Petitioners failed to file their motion on notice outside pre hearing session as required by the Electoral Act. “It is clearly wrong for the counsel to the Petitioners to try to offload the tardiness on the court”, Justice Haruna Tsammani, the Presiding Judge said in his lead judgement.
Shortly after the ruling, Justice Tsammani ordered that the two flash drives already admitted in evidence be played.
The two flash drives showed the footage of the INEC Chairman,Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu at the 3rd regular consultative meeting with leaders of political parties where he told the gathering that BVAS would be used and there would be transmission of results real time.
The other flash drives contained an interview Mr Seun Okinbaloye had with Mr. Festus Okoye and another clip showing Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC)(as he then was) Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu when he visited the then President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura on 10th July,2022.
Justice Tsammani adjourned the case to Tuesday,June 13,this year.
Also yesterday, two Presiding Officers at the February 25 ,2023 Presidential election on Saturday told the Presidential Election Petitions Court that they did not register the failure of BVAS to transmit the Presidential Election in the form provided by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Specifically, the Presiding Officers said they could remember that they were issued Form EC40G ,incident report form, they did not fill the form to register the failure of the BVAS in transmitting the presidential election result.
At the resumed sitting on Saturday in the case instituted by the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party,the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) against the INEC, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and All Progressives Congress (APC),they also failed to remember what Form EC40G was meant for.
Miss Alheri Ayuba,PW 17 in the case, who served in Abuja said:”they taught us about it (Form EC40G)during training, but I can’t remember what the form was for. But I remember it was one of the forms given to us”.
She also confirmed under cross examination by Chief Solomon Umoh, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) that she did not state in her witness statement on oath her complaint that the BVAS failed to upload the Presidential Election result.
Another witness,PW18, Miss Sadiya Mohammed Haruna who lives in Taraba state said she was Presiding Officer at City Center, Front of Green Garden,Abuja.
She told the court that she entered the results in Form EC8A manually and gave party agents copies after everyone signed.
Under cross examination by Chief Emmanuel Ukala SAN Miss Haruna said :”I snapped it. I don’t know whether it saved or disappeared because I submitted the BVAS to INEC”, adding that:”when you snap and you click and it did not upload, it remains pending which technically is called ‘off line transmission ”, she stressed.
The witness told the court that although she was unable to use the BVAS machine to transmit the Presidential Election result , she did not register her complaint in her witness statement on oath.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Haruna Tsammani adjourned the case to 2:00pm on June 13, this year.