The official results for the 36 states of the union and the Federal Capital Territory were given in evidence on Wednesday by the Labour Party and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
Paul Annanaba, SAN, submitted the national document known as Form EC8D(a) on behalf of the opposition party and Obi as supporting documentation for the petition before the Presidential Election Petition Court contesting the results of the polls on February 25.
The LP and its candidate, Peter Obi, are contesting the outcome of the presidential election, which the Independent National Electoral Commission announced to have been won by Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress.
INEC, Tinubu, Kassim Shettima, the vice-president, and the APC are the first through fourth respondents in the lawsuit.
On Wednesday, the respondents all consented to the presentation of the national results for all the states and the FCT through their legal counsel.
The five-person PEPC panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani accepted the national document as evidence in the case filed by Obi after receiving no objections from the respondents.
In a related development, the petitioners submitted form EC8Cs from 13 states: Bayelsa, Benue, Cross-River, Ebonyi, Edo, Lagos, Niger, Ondo, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Ekiti, and Delta as proof in support of their petition against Tinubu’s return.
At the local government level, election results are compiled using the form EC8C. This form is filled up with the results that were recorded at the ward level. However, all of the respondents raised objections to the admissibility of the form EC8Cs through their attorneys. They advised the court that they will provide a formal justification for their objections in their closing arguments.
But the forms were accepted by the court as evidence and designated as exhibits. It then postponed more hearings on the petition until Thursday, June 8, 2023.
Challenge to PDP’s summoned witness
The Peoples Democratic Party, which ran Atiku Abubakar as its front-runner in the most recent election, summoned its first subpoenaed witness on Wednesday in the Presidential Election Petition Court.
Atiku and the PDP are disputing the results of the election that elected Tinubu as president in a petition with the designation CA/PEPC/05/2023.
Ad hoc employee of the Independent National Electoral Commission is the first summoned witness that the plaintiffs will call during the resumed hearing, according to Chris Uche, SAN, lawyer for the PDP.
However, the witness’ testimony was opposed to by the legal counsel for the case’s respondents, INEC, Tinubu, and the APC.
A.B. Mahmoud, SAN, the counsel for INEC, stood opposed to the witness’s hearing immediately as he entered the witness box and just before he could take his oath.
He told the jury that the witness’s statement had only been served on him this morning and that he would need to review it in order to conduct a comprehensive cross-examination.
Akin Olujimi SAN, Tinubu’s attorney, and Lateef Fagbemi SAN, the attorney for the APC, both had the same opinion and were opposed to the petitioners’ action.
In response, Uche contended that the witness’s remark was not odd enough to call for an adjournment.
He begged the judge to let at least one of the summoned witnesses use their given time wisely.
In order to give respondents time to review the documents and effectively cross-examine the first subpoenaed witness, the trial was to be adjourned for 30 minutes, according to Justice Tsammani, the head of the five-person PEPC panel.
The person who testified however, “is said to be an Ad-hoc staff of the Commission,” and as such, he would have to go and look at INEC’s records in order to enable him to prepare properly, according to INEC counsel, who urged that the eyewitness cannot be taken on Wednesday.
After the respondents’ claims, Uche petitioned the court to postpone the hearing until tomorrow, June 8, so that the three witnesses who had been subpoenaed could be called.
The PDP chairman for Anambra, Ndubuisi Nwobu, was called as the PDP and Atiku’s 11th witness earlier to testify in court.
During cross-examination by counsel for the APC, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, the witness informed the court that the results were challenged at the lower levels before they reached the state level.
He continued by saying they had no other choice but to compile the results.
When questioned about whether he included that in his under oath witness testimony, he responded that it was impossible to include every detail.
On Thursday, June 8, 2023, the court will resume hearing the PDP and Atiku’s petition.