I will defend my victory - Tinubu

The President-elect, Bola Tinubu, of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, on Tuesday, expressed his readiness to defend his election victory in court.

Consequently, Tinubu and his party approached the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, praying it to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to grant them access to sensitive materials it used for the presidential election that held on February 25.

Cited as respondents in two ex parte applications marked: CA/PEC/05m/23 and CA/PEC/06m/23, which Tinubu filed before the court were INEC and his two major contenders — Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP, who came second and third, respectively.

Both Atiku and Obi were equally joined as respondents in ex parte motions marked: CA/PEC/07m/23 and CA/PEC/08m/23, which were filed by the APC.

All the motions were supported with an affidavit of urgency.

Specifically, Tinubu, through his lawyer, Mr. Akintola Makinde, said he would need to inspect, scan and make photocopies of the electoral materials to enable him to prepare his defence against petitions that both Atiku and Obi would lodged to challenge his election victory.

“The materials will be relevant in helping us to prepare our defence and also make comparison with information contained in INEC’s back-end server,” Makinde told the court.

Counsel for the APC, Mr. Omosanya Kpopoola, also urged the court to permit the party to also obtain copies of the sensitive materials from the electoral body.

The applications came on a day that both Obi and Atiku urged the court to refuse INEC’s request to be allowed to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, it used for the presidential election.

INEC had insisted that the reconfiguration was necessary since the BVAS would also be deployed for the next round of elections, starting with governorship and state assemblies elections billed for Saturday, as well as other rescheduled elections.

It maintained that without a prompt variation of the order the court earlier granted to Obi and Atiku, especially the aspect restraining it from tampering with formation contained in the BVAS, it would be difficult for it to proceed with the scheduled elections.

However, shortly after INEC, through its team of lawyers comprising of four Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, led by Mr. Tanimu Inuwa, urged the court to vary the order, Obi and his party, in a fresh application marked CA/PEC/09m/23, sought permission to be allowed to conduct physical inspection of all the BVAS that were used for the presidential poll.

Obi and LP, through their team of lawyers led by Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), said the essence of the application was to enable them to extract data embedded in the BVAS, “which represent the actual results from Polling Units”.

They specifically applied for “leave to carryout digital forensic and physical  inspection of BVAS, etc”, as well as to obtain the Certified True Copy, CTC, of all the data in the BVAS.

“My Lords, this is to ensure that the evidence is preserved before the BVAS are reconfigured by INEC.

“This is because if they are wiped out, it will affect the substance of our case,” Ikpeazu (SAN), added.

Counsel that represented Atiku and the PDP, Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN), said he filed a similar application, though it was not heard owing to a counter-affidavit by INEC which he sought time to respond to.
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