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Election Tribunal: Tinubu, INEC Kick As Peter Obi Present Total Voters Card, PVCs From 32 States

The court also admitted a certified true copy of a certificate of compliance regarding earlier exhibits tendered by the petitioners concerning Edo state.

By Sanusi Mohammad, Abuja

During the proceedings at the Presidential Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja on Wednesday, a bundle of exhibits containing the total number of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) collected in 32 states before the 2023 general elections was admitted as evidence. The five-member panel, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, also admitted a bundle of documents containing the total number of registered voters in those states. These exhibits were presented to the court by Mr. Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), who alleged electoral fraud in favor of President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

While Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, led Obi’s legal team, the exhibits were tendered through another senior lawyer, Mr. Peter Afuba, SAN. The petitioners claimed that the exhibits were duly certified by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). However, INEC, represented by Mr. Kemi Pinhero, SAN, strongly objected to the admissibility of the exhibits, as did President Tinubu and the APC, the 2nd and 3rd respondents in the case. All the respondents stated that they would provide reasons for their objections in their final written addresses.

Despite the objections, the court admitted the documents related to the total number of PVCs from the 32 states as evidence, marking them as exhibits PCN 1 to PCN 32. The court also admitted a certified true copy of a certificate of compliance regarding earlier exhibits tendered by the petitioners concerning Edo state.

Additional electoral documents were entered into evidence after being tendered by the petitioners. These included certified copies of supplementary IReV reports for three Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Benue state, two LGAs in Cross River state, 12 LGAs in Lagos state, and one LGA in Gombe state.

During the proceedings, three more witnesses were called by the petitioners. One of them, Dr. Chibuike Ugwoke, a cyber security expert, presented a document containing a press release issued by INEC prior to the general elections. The press release, titled “Alleged plot to abandon transmission of polling unit results to IReV portal,” was dated November 11, 2022, and signed by INEC’s National Commissioner, Mr. Festus Okoye. The witness also tendered a report on metadata. The respondents expressed opposition to the evidence of this witness, and their reasons will be presented later in the case.

Following the testimonies, the court adjourned the case until Thursday, with expectations that both Mr. Peter Obi and Atiku will conclude their cases on Friday, after which the respondents will present their defense.

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