Tinubu set to defend victory at election petition court

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will Wednesday at the Presidential Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja open his defense in a petition by the Labour Party LP and its presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi against his declaration as winner of the February 25 presidential election.

Tinubu was on March 1, 2023 declared winner of the disputed election by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.

The decision by Tinubu to begin defense followed INEC’S decision to terminate its own defence in Obi’s petition after calling one witness and tendering four documents.

Although the electoral body had informed the Court of the decision to justify the conduct of the poll with three witnesses, its lead counsel, Mr Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud suddenly announced the closure of the INEC’S defense at Tuesday’s proceedings.

Tinubu’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN told the Court that his client is fully ready to kick-start the defense on July 5 with his witnesses and documents to justify the victory in the presidential election.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, INEC’S witness, Dr Lawrence Bayode admitted that the electoral body suffered glitches during the presidential election but maintained that the glitches did not in any way affect the conduct of the election, collation of results and declaration of final results.

On the allegations of blurred result sheets on INEC’S portal, the Deputy Director of Information and Communication said that clear result sheets can still be obtained on request by those in need of them.

He was led in evidence by Mahmoud who also tendered some documents in the course of the proceedings.

The witness, under cross-examination, said that even if blurred documents were downloaded from INEC’s Result Viewing portal, it will not affect the physical results as recorded in the polling units results, otherwise called form EC8A.

He said the images of forms EC8A captured with the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System and transmitted to IReV are not relevant for the collation of results.

When examined by counsel for the All Progressives Congress, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, the witness told the court that the glitch recorded during the last presidential election did not affect the collation of the election results.

He added that if what was downloaded from the IreV are not clear the physical results could also be obtained.

The petitioners also tendered the E- transmission saver Web and compliance form through the witness. It was admitted and marked as evidence.

The witness told the court that the pre-production test was carried out before the election.

Bayode agreed with counsel for the petitioners, Patrick Ikweato, SAN, that the report of the E-Transmission application identifies remediation to be undertaken to resolve the high vulnerability identified in the report.

The five-member panel headed by Justice Haruna Tsammani adjourned the court proceeding to Wednesday when Tinubu and his vice, Kassim Shetima will open their defence.

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