A witness for the Labour Party on Thursday accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of an attempt to sabotage the 2023 presidential election.
At the resumed hearing , the presidential election tribunal, saw the LP bring forward its witness, Anthony Chinwo, who is a software engineer.
Under cross examination by legal counsels to the INEC, President Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Chinwo said that he conducted investigations around the uploading of results to the Irev portal by electoral umpire and discovered that there was a deliberate plot to undermine the electoral process.
This claim infuriated A. B. Mahmood the INEC counsel who objected and insisted that from the documents presented before the court, INEC used the highest level of software security.
LP, Obi Submit Final Results
After listening the witness statement and the counter-claims by the defense counsel, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, was allowed to submit to the court, the official national results of the February 25 presidential election.
Counsel to the LP, Professor Paul Ananaba (SAN) tendered the form EC8DA, which is the official national results of the election.
Ananaba also tendered the remaining exhibits in forms EC8As, EC8Bs and EC8Cs, which are polling units, wards and local government’s collation respectively for about 18 states where they are challenging the election results.
Some of the states tendered and admitted are Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Edo, Lagos, Niger, Ondo, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Ekiti and Delta.
INEC objects to states’ result presented by Obi
In a slight twist of events, INEC did not object to the Labour Party (LP) and Peter Obi’s submission of result sheets of the national collation for the February 25 presidential election.
There was no reason given for the non-objection position taken by INEC’s counsel.
In a similar vein, the lawyers for President Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) , Akin Olujinmi (SAN) and Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), did not oppose the submission made by the LP and its candidate, however, they objected to results the opposition party said it obtained from polling units, wards, local governments and states.
LP’s counsel, Ananaba informed the court that they are ready to tender forms EC40G series, which are forms for materials distribution across states, at the next hearing.
He said they will be responding to the reasons made for objecting and not objecting to the documents tendered before the court.
PDP Calls witnesses
Earlier, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called its subpoenaed witnesses to address the tribunal.
When the first witness Egwumah Friday came forward, there was no objection from the lawyers of the All progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The witnessed prayed that the court adopts his submission, following this prayer, the lead counsel for President Bola Tinubu, Mr Wole Olanipekun (SAN) objected to the motion for adoption of the PDP’s witness’ submission on the grounds that the party didn’t list him as part of their witnesses before the tribunal began.
Mr Olanipekun urged the tribunal to reject the application of Chris Uche (SAN) Counsel to the PDP, to admit the submission of the witness.
The counsel to INEC, A. B. Mahmood (SAN) and that of the APC, Lateef Fagbemi also agreed with Wole Olanipekun counsel to the president.
However, the five man panel of judges led by Justice Haruna stood down briefly for ruling on the matter.
Upon their return, the panel of judges allowed the subpoenaed witness to proceed with submissions.
Under cross examination by INEC’s Counsel, Friday Egwumah said as an adhoc staff he was able to successfully transmit the results for the Senatorial and House of Representatives elections, but he could not transmit that of the presidential elections even after repeated attempts.
The PDP called its second subpoenaed witness for the day, Grace Timothy, but counsels to Bola Tinubu, APC and INEC, all objected to her submission.
However, Justice Haruna allowed her to give her submission before the court.
Again under cross examination, Grace Timothy who was a presiding officer in Plateau State said she also faced the same challenge of uploading the results for the presidential elections to the Irev portal.