EU report admitted as evidence | INEC witness MIA — highlights of Monday’s tribunal session



The presidential election petition tribunal has admitted into evidence the final report of the EU observer mission which faulted the February 25 poll.


Here are the highlights of Monday’s proceedings.




The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, presented a copy of the final report of the EU observer report on the election.


Chris Uche, counsel to the petitioners, tendered the document while cross-examining Lawrence Bayode, a witness called by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).


Uche had asked the witness whether or not he knew about the report.


In response, the witness said although he was aware of the report, he was yet to see a copy.


Earlier, the witness had said the election was “free, fair and in substantial compliance with the electoral act”.


However, in the report tendered by Uche, the EU mission said the conduct of the election was flawed.


Barry Andrews, the chief observer, had said the poll exposed enduring systemic weaknesses that need to be corrected.


Andrews faulted INEC for the operational challenges and glitches experienced with the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) and the result viewing portal (IReV), saying the discrepancies severely damaged public confidence in the electoral body.


The PDP lawyer asked the witness to read a portion of the report where the EU mission said the election was not “transparent and inclusive” as promised by the INEC.


He also read a portion of the report which stated that “only 31% of results uploaded in IReV was formally or mathematically correct”.


Although all the respondents in the suit opposed the admissibility of the report, the five-member panel of the tribunal admitted it in evidence.




Bayode, a deputy director at INEC, was the only witness called by the commission as it closed its case in Atiku’s petition.


The witness said the glitch on the IReV portal did not affect the integrity of the election, noting that the scores of the individual candidates remained the same.


He said the result counted by a presiding officer and entered into the result sheet (form EC8A) is what is considered authentic.


After the witness was discharged, the INEC lawyer said the commission would not call more witnesses in its defence.


President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima are expected to open their case on Tuesday.




Hearing in the petition filed by Peter Obi, candidate of the Labour Party (LP), was stalled due to the absence of INEC’s witness.


The electoral body was scheduled to open its case in the petition but that could not proceed as planned.


“I was going to take one witness today (Monday), but he couldn’t make it to court this morning,” Abubakar Mahmoud, INEC counsel, told the court.


The lawyer said the witness was missing in action because he had a family emergency to attend to.


Mahmoud assured that the witness would be in court on Tuesday and that the commission would conclude its case by Wednesday, after calling a total of three witnesses.


He sought an adjournment and it was granted.

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