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Politics of Saturday, 3 June 2023


INEC explains rejection of Obi’s documents, court adjourns APM’s suit

A collage of Peter Obi and INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu A collage of Peter Obi and INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission on Friday explained why it rejected documents tendered by the Labour Party and its candidate, Peter Obi, to aid his petition against the election of President Bola Tinubu.

The electoral body had since the start of the hearing opposed the admissibility of various documents brought to the Presidential Election Petition Court by the petitioners as exhibits to prove their case and held, like other respondents, that reasons would be advanced during the address stage of the proceedings.

However, during Friday’s proceedings, counsel for INEC, Kemi Pinhero SAN, told the court that the electoral body objected to tendering the election result sheets because the petitioners went beyond the areas where the election was being disputed.

He said the local government areas improperly brought into the proceedings of the court were strange to the petition and cannot stand in the face of the law.

Interjecting, the chairman of the five-man panel, Justice Harunna Tsammani, held that it was unacceptable for the lawyer to give reasons for their objection after the commission had indicated that it would advance reasons at the address stage of proceedings.

Subsequently, Peter Afoba, SAN, who represented Obi and the LP tendered before the PEPC additional exhibits to back up their petition against Tinubu which were admitted and marked as Exhibits PB 16 to PB 21.

The exhibits, which were admitted in evidence by the Tsammani-led panel, consisted of certified true copies of results of the presidential election from Adamawa, Bayelsa, Oyo, Edo, Lagos and Akwa Ibom states.

Although Obi won the presidential election in Lagos state, he, however, alleged in his petition that there was massive suppression of votes in the state.

The petitioners also tendered evidence before the court, the result from Bida in Niger State, which was admitted as Exhibit PE 24.

Earlier on Thursday, he tendered results of the election from select local government areas in Rivers, Niger, Benue, Cross River, Osun, and Ekiti.

Like INEC, other respondents objected to the admissibility of the document and said they would equally reserve their reasons for objecting until the final address stage of the petition.

The court thereafter admitted results from 21 LGAs in Adamawa and marked them as Exhibits PH 1 to PH 21; it also admitted results of the presidential election from eight LGAs in Bayelsa and marked them as Exhibits PJ1 to PJ 8.

Results from 31 LGAs in Oyo which the court admitted as exhibits were marked PK 1 – PK 31, while results from 18 LGAs in Edo were marked as Exhibits PL1- PL 18.

Further tendered were results from 20 LGAs in Lagos state which were admitted as Exhibits PM 1 – PM 20, with results from 31 LGAs in Akwa Ibom accepted in evidence as Exhibits PN 1 – PN 31.