The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has opened and closed its defence in the petition filed by Peter Obi, challenging the result of the February 25 presidential election.
Bola Tinubu declared the election winner and subsequently inaugurated as President on May 29, is the subject of the challenge. Obi, representing the Labour Party, is appealing to the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja to nullify Tinubu’s victory, citing INEC’s alleged non-compliance with electoral laws.
During the proceedings on Tuesday, INEC’s counsel, A.B Mahmoud, SAN, closed the commission’s defence after calling its first witness, Lawrence Bayode, an assistant director in charge of its ICT department.
Bayode had previously testified in defence against the petition filed by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Under cross-examination, Bayode stated that even if blurred documents were downloaded from INEC’s Result Viewing portal, it would not affect the physical results as recorded in the polling units results, also known as form EC8A.
He further clarified that the images of forms EC8A captured with the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System and transmitted to IReV are irrelevant for collating results.
When examined by counsel for the All Progressives Congress, L.O Fagbemi, SAN, Bayode told the court that the glitch recorded during the last presidential election did not affect the collation of the election results.
He added that if what was downloaded from the IreV is unclear, the physical results could also be obtained.
The court proceedings have been adjourned to Wednesday when Tinubu and his vice, Kassim Shetima, will open their defence.
The ongoing legal challenge to the February 25 presidential election and INEC’s defence in the matter highlights the complexities of our electoral process.
While INEC must ensure the credibility of election results, it’s equally essential for the commission to address any allegations of non-compliance with electoral laws.
In this case, the fact that INEC has closed its defence suggests that the commission is confident in the integrity of the election process.
However, the concerns raised by Peter Obi and the Labour Party about the alleged non-compliance with electoral laws underscore the need for a thorough review of our electoral processes to ensure that they meet the highest standards of transparency and accountability.
Did You Know?
- The Presidential Election Petition Court is a special court established to hear and determine petitions challenging the outcome of presidential elections.
- The court is composed of five justices of the Court of Appeal.
- The court has 180 days from filing the petition to deliver its judgment.
- The decision of the Presidential Election Petition Court is final and cannot be appealed.
- The court has heard and determined several high-profile election petitions, including those challenging the outcomes of the 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019 presidential elections.
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