‘INEC chair dodging subpoena’ | ‘LP stalling case’ — 5 highlights of presidential election tribunal


Tempers flared and words were exchanged between counsels of the Labour Party (LP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the presidential election petition tribunal on Wednesday.


Here are five highlights from the proceedings.




Livy Uzoukwu, lead counsel for the LP, told the court that Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, had consistently avoided being served with a subpoena for the production of documents.


The lawyer said he was not in possession of the subpoena but would provide a copy to the INEC lead counsel.


Uzoukwu urged the INEC lawyer to ensure that the needful is done so as to continue with the proceedings the next day.




Kemi Pinero, counsel to the INEC, dismissed Uzoukwu’s comments, saying it was a tactic to adjourn the proceedings.


Pinero said there was no conversation of a subpoena directed to the INEC chairman, adding that the commission had adequately responded to subpoenas issued by other parties and had no reason to neglect the LP.


“A subpoena was not refused. PDP served subpoenas and we have responded to them. It is clear that this is becoming a habit that they (LP) like to whip, it’s a pattern,” Pinero said.


“Don’t use INEC as a whipping boy, if they (LP) have nothing else to do they should just say it. We are not going to oppose your adjournment.


 “This habit is showing that you’re only stalling the case. You’ve only called two witnesses out of the 50 witnesses you said you would call and it has been two weeks since the tribunal started.


“I just want to make it clear that it is not correct that the INEC chairman refused to respond to the subpoena. The chairman of INEC has no interest whatsoever. So it’s very unfair and uncharitable.”


In response, the LP lead counsel expressed shock at Pinero’s comments and said he “consistently denigrates the petitioners’ counsels”.


Uzoukwu said the court’s bailiff had noted that INEC consistently avoided service of the subpoena and that his claims were verifiable.



Uzoukwu told the court that Audu Anuga, a member of LP’s legal team, will tender documents challenging the election in seven states.

Certified true copies (CTC) of IReV reports downloaded and certified by INEC, according to Anuga, were tendered in respect of 21 LGAs of Benue.


IReV reports of eight LGAs in Gombe, 25 in Niger, 17 in Edo, 20 in Bauchi, and 21 LGAs in Kaduna were also presented.


The senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said some CTCs of blurred IReV reports linked to unidentifiable LGAs in Kaduna were part of the evidence.


Additional evidence included blurred CTCs of some documents and reports from Bayelsa state.


Anuga also presented CTCs of INEC certificate of compliance for seven states but said the LP would only be tendering for six states excluding Akwa Ibom. The other states were not mentioned.


Lawyers for INEC, President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima, as well as the All Progressives Congress (APC), objected to the admissibility of the documents.



Eyitayo Jegede, counsel for the PDP, presented three sets of reports — prepared by statisticians — on the electoral forms used during the last presidential election.


The reports were presented by Samuel Oduntan, a statistician and witness of the PDP.


Jegede said the witness would be cross-examined the next day, adding that other respondents had agreed to the arrangement.


However, the respondents opposed the admission of the documents and kicked against the bid to have the reports read in open court.


Tsammani thereafter fixed June 15 for further hearing of the petition




Abubakar Mahmoud, lead counsel for INEC, asked the court to permit the PDP to provide soft copies of the reports tendered as evidence so as to sufficiently review them before the next hearing.


On his part, Jegede prayed the court to compel INEC to provide the voter register for review.


Tsammani granted both requests and asked the parties to include all respondents in the information. 

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