Politics

PEPT: INEC closes case in Atiku/PDP petition with one witness

After failing to open its defence against the petition filed by the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday concluded its defence in the petition by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after calling one witness and tendering some documents before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).

 

INEC’s lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), announced the closure of his client’s case after an Information Technology (IT) Practitioner with INEC, (its sole witness), Dr. Lawrence Bayode, adopted his written testimony and was cross-examined by lawyers to the respondents and the petitioners.

 

TheNiche had earlier reported that at the resumption of hearing at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), lead counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), AB Mahmoud, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, asked for adjournment because all three witnesses of the commission were absent in court.

 

Recall that the respondents in the petition challenging the declaration of Bola Tinubu as winner of the 2023 presidential election were expected to open their defence today.

 

The Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar closed their case on June 24 after presenting 27 witnesses.

 

The Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, also closed their case after calling 13 witnesses and presenting several electoral documents.

 

After a week break, INEC was expected to present three witnesses beginning today to support its case that Tinubu was duly elected the winner of the 2023 election.

 

But at the resumed hearing, AB Mahmoud rose to seek adjournment because all his witnesses were not in court.

 

However, in the PDP case, the umpire called Bayode, a Deputy Director in INEC’s IT Department, who insisted that there were glitches experienced during the transmission of the presidential election results which affected the real-time transmission of the results.

 

He added, among others, that whether or not results were electronically or manually transmitted cannot affect the integrity of the scores already captured in the polling unit results sheets (Form EC8A).

 

After Mahmoud announced the closure of his client’s case, the lawyer to Tinubu, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) informed the court that the second respondent (Tinubu) will open his defence on Tuesday.

 

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