INEC closes defence against Obi’s petition with one witness

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has closed its defence against the petition filed by Labour Party (LP) candidate, Peter Obi, at the Presidential Election Petition Court.

INEC counsel, Abubakar Mahmoud, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said the Commission has closed it’s case after adopting the written statement of the sole witness, Lawrence Bayode, during the proceedings on Tuesday, July 4.

Bayode is INEC’s Director of Information Technology (IT).

Mahmoud tendered the cloud trail log report and certification as evidence. The court admitted the documents as exhibits and considered them to be read and demonstrated before the court.

Under cross-examination by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), counsel to Tinubu and Shettima, the witness agreed that the foundation of any election conducted by INEC is the results recorded in Forms EC8As. He also agreed that blurred results downloaded from INEC’s I-ReV would not affect the results recorded in Form EC8As.

The witness further confirmed that the e-Naira, launched in October 2021, has not been activated due to technological issues. He agreed that the e-Naira app had to be temporarily removed from the Google Play store to fix glitches shortly after its launch.

The witness stated that elections were practically concluded at the polling unit when the presiding officers input election results into Form EC8As, announce the results openly to all parties and their agents, sign the forms, and use the Biomodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine to capture the forms.

Responding to questions from the counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), the witness clarified that INEC used the physical results in Forms EC8As to compute the results of the presidential election. He emphasised that any glitches experienced during the election did not impact the collation of results, and if necessary, the required information could be retrieved from the physical results.

During cross-examination by counsel to Obi, Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), Bayode agreed that the e-transmission application underwent testing on February 4, 2023, before being deployed for use in the presidential election. Ikwueto presented the test report as evidence, which the court admitted as an exhibit.

The witness concurred with Ikwueto that the report of the e-transmission application outlined remediation measures to address the identified vulnerabilities.

However, objections to the document’s admissibility were raised by Tinubu, Shettima, and the APC, with promises to provide reasons for the objection at a later stage.

The Tribunal presided over by Haruna Tsammani, subsequently adjourned proceedings to Wednesday, July 5, for Tinubu and Shettima to open their defence against the petition filed by Obi.

Obi is challenging the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.

INEC had declared Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.

According to INEC, Tinubu secured 8,794,726 votes to come first, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) finished second with 6,984,520, while Obi polled 6,101,533 to come third.

Displeased with the results, Obi and his party filed a petition at the court to challenge Tinubu’s victory.

In their petition, Obi and the LP argued that when Tinubu’s running mate, Kashim Shettima, became the vice presidential candidate, he was still nominated as the APC candidate for the Borno Central Senatorial election.

They also challenged Tinubu’s eligibility, alleging that he was previously indicted and fined $460,000.00 by a United States District Court for an offence involving dishonesty and drug trafficking.

Obi claimed that the election was invalid due to corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.



    He argued that INEC breached its regulations and guidelines by not prescribing and deploying technological devices for voter accreditation, verification, continuation, and authentication as required.

    The petitioner sought a declaration from the court that Tinubu was not qualified to contest the election and that all votes recorded for him were wasted.

    He also requested the court to determine that he received a majority of lawful votes and satisfied constitutional requirements to be declared the winner.

    In the alternative, he called for the cancellation of the election and the conduct of a fresh election in which Tinubu, Shettima, and the APC would not participate.

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

    Support the ICIR

    We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

    Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

    If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Support the ICIR

    We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

    - Advertisement


    - Advertisement