INEC chairman to testify in petition against Tinubu June 15

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Yakubu Mahmood, will on Thursday June 15, appear before the Presidential Election Petition Court ( PEPC) to give evidence in a petition by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar challenging the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President.

Mahmood has already been subpoenaed by the Atiku’s legal team led by Chief Chris Uche, SAN.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, Uche announced to the Court that the INEC chairman will during his appearance testify on the conduct of the disputed Presidential election and also tender some sensitive documents in aid of the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)

Uche however, did not disclose the nature of documents the INEC chief would be required to tender.

The senior lawyer told Justice Haruna Tsammani-led panel that he decided to announce to the court bid to bring Mahmood before the court on Thursday so that the respondents especially Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) would not be caught unaware.

At the proceedings, Atiku called his first star witness, Dr Alex Adum Ter, a legal practitioner and former Attorney General of Benue State, who in his testimony alleged that the presidential election was marred with a lot of irregularities and non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022.

The witness, who was the National Coordinator, Situation Room for PDP on the February 25 presidential election had tendered three different video clips featuring Mahmood, INEC’s Commissioner in charge of Voter Education, Mr Festus Okoye, who in their broadcast assured Nigerians that presidential election results would be electronically transmitted to make the election credible and transparent.

The third video involving European Union Election Observer Mission was admitted as exhibits by the court alongside Guidelines for Election Officers 2022 and Manual for Election Guidelines 2023.

Although, Tinubu and APC objected vehemently against the admissibility of the documents, Justice Tsammani admitted them after which the video clips were played in the open court.

The witness also tendered screen shots of the IReV portal.

Under cross examination by INEC’s lawyer, Mr Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, the witness admitted that he was not at the National Collation Center but was at the PDP situation room in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He also admitted not being an ICT experts but that he based his report from information obtained from agents of the PDP at the collation centers.

The witness faulted INEC for not transmitting presidential election results electronically, adding that calculation errors led the electoral body into grave errors .

Also cross examined by Chief Akin Olujimi SAN, who represented President Tinubu, the witness said that he came to the conclusion that the presidential election was invalid by reason of corrupt electoral practices as related to him by PDP agents.

Further hearing in the petition has been shifted to June 14.