By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – Sequel to the order of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Thursday, produced some documents the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, requested with respect to their case against the outcome of the 2019 presidential election.
Though the tribunal had on Wednesday, adjourned further hearing on the joint petition Atiku and PDP lodged against President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election till Friday, however, the Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-member panel acknowledged receipt of the sensitive electoral materials INEC produced on Thursday.
It will be recalled that the tribunal had pursuant to an application by the petitioners, issued a subpoena against both the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Zamfara State, to produce the documents.
However, INEC’s lawyer, Mr. Yunus Usman, SAN, who drew attention of the tribunal to the documents that were brought in 55 boxes, maintained that the summon was not specific that either Prof. Yakubu or the Zamfara REC must personally adduce the required documents.
Consequently, neither Prof. Yakubu nor the Zamfara REC appeared to submit the electoral materials.
In a letter that was signed by Secretary of the INEC, Mrs. Rose Orianran-Anthony, she said the Commission complied with orders of the tribunal by providing all the documents the petitioners asked for, except the ones relating to National Assembly re-run elections, stressing no such election took place.
The materials were presented shortly after the tribunal adjourned hearing on a separate petition the Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM, and its candidate, Pastor Aminchi Habu, lodged to nullify the outcome of the February 23 presidential election.
Specifically, Atiku and PDP had in the subpoena that was issued by the tribunal, asked the INEC boss to produce seven items that included result sheets from all the 36 States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, contained in Forms EC8D and EC48G, which had already been inspected and paid for by the petitioners on April 5, with INEC official receipt number 03737.
Other items are Smart Card Reader Report on Voters Accreditation Data for the presidential poll, reports on all Permanent Voters Card for the election from the Smart Card Readers, All contract documents in respect of election server between 2015 to 2019.
As well as list of Polling Units where re-run elections were held in respect of National Assembly that originally held together with the presidential poll on February 23, and Form EC8D, which is the summary of results from State and Collation at the National Level, used in the presidential poll.
On his part, the Zamfara REC was ordered to appear with Certified True Copies of election results from the Polling Units, Wards and Local Government levels in the state.
The results are contained in Forms EC8A, EC8B and EC8C.
Counsel to the petitioners, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, had accused INEC of deliberately frustrating their petition by refusing to release the documents he said was needed to prove their case against the declaration of President Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as winners of the presidential election.