• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Tribunal: Again, Atiku decry lack of access to essential documents after payment made to INEC

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have again decried the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for frustrating the progress of its petition challenging the 2023 election.

Chris Uche, Counsel to PDP and Atiku on Wednesday told the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal that despite paying N6.69 million, INEC has not released Certified True Copies of electoral materials it would use to prove its case.

“We had a challenge with some of the documents we have applied for and paid for from INEC. The first respondent (INEC), promised to cooperate with us and we have sent a letter to him highlighting the remnants of the documents which we are in need of. He told us that some of the documents are not in Abuja, we paid N6.69 million for the certified true copies of the documents”, Uche told said.

He also informed the court that he will tender other documents which have been made available by INEC. Uche then tendered from the bar CTCs of election results contained in Form EC8A from 10 Local Government Areas in Kogi State. He also tendered from EC8D for Anambra state.

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The court admitted the documents and marked them as exhibits despite objection from INEC,  and president Bola Tinubu’s lawyers.

The petitioners then proceeded to call their witnesses for the day. Uche, told the  court that he has three subpoenaed witnesses which are ad hoc election staff and a PDP state collation agent, Ndubuisi Nwobu from Anambra state.

Counsel to the respondents objected to the calling of witnesses. INEC’s  lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud described the situation an ambush,  saying the petitioners lawyers only served him their witness statement today (Wednesday) and he would need time to study it and revert to his client.

Also, counsel to Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress opposed the calling of the witnesses,  stating same reason as INEC’s, and applauding that the move is contrary to directive of the court, as contained in the pre-hearing report.

Uche, however maintained that there was nothing surprising in what he did because he already stated in his petition that he would bring subpoenaed witnesses to prove the election was rigged.

The court therefore adjourned to Thursday for continuation of the hearing.