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Election Tribunla: INEC Closes Defence In Obi/LP Petition, Tenders Documents

Prior to calling their witness, INEC submitted certain documents as evidence, which were accepted and marked as exhibits.

By Isa Mustapha, Abuja

The defence presented by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the petition filed by Peter Obi and the Labour Party (LP) before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has concluded.

Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, the lawyer representing INEC, announced the closure of the first respondent’s case after the testimony of its sole witness, Dr Lawrence Bayode, who serves as a Deputy Director in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Department of INEC.

Prior to calling their witness, INEC submitted certain documents as evidence, which were accepted and marked as exhibits.

During his examination by Mahmood, the witness informed the court that he had worked for INEC for 24 years.

Under cross-examination by Patrick Ikwueto, SAN, the counsel for the petitioners, the witness stated that the software application for the election was tested on February 4. He mentioned that a report on the testing existed but was not present in court.

The petitioners, however, submitted the E-transmission saver Web and compliance form through the witness, and it was accepted as evidence.

The witness confirmed that pre-production testing occurred before the election.

When asked if the physical copies of the results would differ from those in the IreV (presumably a digital platform), he responded negatively.

However, he added that uncertainties could arise when transferring results from Form EC8A to the IreV.

He admitted that performance, functionality, and vulnerability tests were conducted before the election.

When questioned by Ikwueto, the witness agreed that the report of the e-Transmission application outlined actions required to address the significant vulnerability identified in the report.

The witness claimed he was unaware of INEC’s web address where its materials are published.

During cross-examination by Wole Olanipekun, SAN, the counsel for Tinubu and Shettima, the witness affirmed that the foundation and legitimacy of any INEC election lay in forms EC8A and EC8E.

The witness added that unclear documents downloaded from INEC’s IreV would not affect the physical results documented in Form EC8A, as the images were not relevant.

He stated that the election concluded with the recording, capturing, and transmission to INEC’s IreV.

When questioned by APC counsel Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, the witness explained that physical results are used to compute the final election results.

He clarified that the technical issues experienced on the election day did not impact the collation of results.

He further noted that if the downloaded data from the IreV was unclear, the physical results could be obtained as well.

The witness mentioned that ECOWAS monitored the election, but he did not possess their report.

He stated that the cloud trial log account of INEC could be obtained from Amazon Web Services (AWS). This log demonstrates the patches deployed on the E-transmission applications on AWS to resolve the encountered glitches on election day.

Following the testimony of the sole witness, Mahmoud informed the court that INEC’s defence in the petition filed by Obi and the Labour Party is closed.

Olanipekun later informed the court that Tinubu and Shettima, listed as the second and third respondents in the petition, would commence their defence the next day.

The five-member panel, presided over by Justice Haruna Tsammani, adjourned the proceedings until the following day for Tinubu and Shettima to present their defence.

Obi and the Labour Party (LP) filed the petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023, challenging the election that resulted in President Bola Tinubu coming to power.

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