Politics

Reject Atiku’s exhibits, INEC server claims – Buhari, APC beg tribunal

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President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress have asked the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to discard the over 28,000 result sheets of the February 23, 2019 election in 10 states tendered by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

They also request the tribunal to reject the testimony of the petitioners’ 40th, 59th and 60th witnesses.

Atiku’s spokesperson, Mr Segun Showunmi, was the 40th witness; David Njorga from Kenya, who was described by the petitioners as their “expert witness,” was the PW 59; while Joseph Gbenga, a data analyst was the PW 60.

The respondents also asked the Justice Mohammed Garba-led panel to reject a separate set of 33 documents, which included the Certified True Copies of Form CF001 (personal particulars) submitted by Buhari to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the presidential candidate of his party, other INEC documents and some newspaper reports.

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The documents being challenged by Buhari and the APC, include 8,395 certified true copies of polling unit, local government, ward and state result sheets of 10 states.

The states are Yobe (1,732 result sheets), Kebbi (2,106), Borno (3,472), Kano (5,806), Bauchi  (3,599), Katsina (3,378), Jigawa (3,162), Kaduna (3,335A), Zamfara (eight) and Niger (1,797).

Buhari and the APC prayers, urging the tribunal not to act on the documents, are contained in their separate objections to the admissibility of the petitioners’ documents earlier admitted conditionally as exhibits by the tribunal.

APC’s lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), urged the tribunal to “expunge” the documents from the record of proceedings on the grounds that they were “wrongly admitted in evidence” when they “are legally inadmissible.”

He argued that while some of them “are documentary hearsay evidence that should not have been admitted by the honourable court in the first place,” others were inadmissible on the grounds that they were tendered from the bar despite being disputed by the APC.

On the evidence of the petitioners’ witnesses numbers 40, 59 and 60, Buhari’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said their testimonies were in violation of the March 6, 2019 order of the tribunal, which dismissed the petitioners’ request to be granted access to an alleged server in which they claimed INEC stored the authentic results of the last presidential election.

Olanipekun faulted the evidence of the witnesses which he argued emerged “in express violation of a subsisting order of court, same germinates in stark abuse of the process of this honourable court.”

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