…. as tribunal adjourns till Monday
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Friday, tendered more evidence before the Pesidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election.
The petitioners, through their lead counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, tendered a total of 26175 exhibits that were admitted into evidence by the Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-member tribunal.
The exhibits comprised of presidential result sheets from eight states of federation, as well as reciepts the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, issued after the petitioners made payment for Certified True Copies, CTC, of the documents.
The three set of results which were for Polling Units, Wards and Local Government Areas, were admitted as Forms EC8A, EC8B and EC8C series.
Specifically, the eight states that their presidential election result was tendered by the petitioners were Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Borno, Jigawa, Gombe and Bauchi.
Meanwhile, INEC, President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC, who are Respondents to the petition, said they were vehemently opposed to the admissibility of all the documents into evidence.
However, in line with an agreement all the parties reached at the pre-hearing stage of the petition, the Respondents, said they would adduce reasons why the tribunal should not accord any probative value to all the exhibits that PDP and Atiku tendered before it, in a written address they would file later.
The tribunal adjourned its proceedings till Monday to continue futher hearing on the petition challenging the outcome of the February 23 presidential election.
The petitioners said they would on Monday, present and tender remainder of results from Kano State, even as they indicated that they may likely conclude the tendering of exhibits to enable witnesses to commence their Evidence-in-Chief.
Meantime, before the adjournment, the petitioners, requested for the CTC of the record of proceedings of the tribunal.
Head of the panel, Justice Garba, said the request would be granted as soon as the petitioners paid the necessary fee at the tribunal’s registry.
PDP and Atiku had in their joint petition marked CA/PEPC/002/2019, insisted that data they independently secured from INEC’s back-end server, revealed that they defeated President Buhari at the poll with over 1.6million votes.
They alleged that INEC had at various stages of the presidential election, unlawful allocated votes to President Buhari, saying they would adduce oral and documentary evidence to show that result of the election as announced by the electoral body, did not represent the lawful valid votes cast
Atiku and PDP alleged that in some states, INEC deducted lawful votes that accrued to him, in its bid to ensure that Buhari was returned back to office.
The petitioners said they would call evidence of statisticians, forensic examiners and finger-print experts at the hearing of the petition to establish that the scores credited to Buhari were not the product of actual votes validly cast at the polling units.
The petitioners said they intend to call 400 witnesses, “or as many as possible within the prescribed time”, to prove their case.
All the respondents had since filed processes to challenge the competence of the petition they said should be dismissed for want of merit and substance.
The tribunal had given the petitioners 10 days to present their case, while the respondents would take six days each to enter their defence.