PEPC: NASS election results transmitted but presidential result failed to go, says INEC staff 

Three subpoenaed witnesses to be cross examined by respondents

PEPC: NASS election results transmitted but presidential result failed to go, says INEC staff 
Justice Tsammani

By Solomon Onyilo 

 Egwumah Omachonu Friday, a staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has testified before the Presidential  Election Petition Court, (PEPC) that he was unable to transmit the presidential election results to INEC server despite being able to transmit Senate and House of Representatives results at the time. 

Friday, a subpoenaed witness who was an ad-hoc staff of INEC during the February 25 elections said the election was peaceful but presidential results were unable to be transmitted along with other results.

The witness, a presiding officer of INEC, was led in evidence by the lead counsel to the petitioners (Atiku and PDP), Chris Uche, SAN, who stated that he served at the 017 polling unit of Abia state. 

Another subpoenaed witness, Grace Timothy, a presiding officer for one of the polling units of Plateau state, on her part, told the PEPC that the election was peaceful and went well. 

Earlier, President Bola Tinubu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) vehemently kicked against the bid of the former Vice-President, Abubakar Atiku, to engage ad-hoc staff of INEC to give evidence in his petition.

However, Tinubu, represented by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, objected to the use of statements made on oath by the witnesses to be tendered at the Presidential Election Petition Court PEPC in aid of Atiku's petition.

The grouse of the President and the APC was that the statements of the ad-hoc workers were not front-loaded at the time of filing the petition.

Olanipekun SAN who cited several provisions of the law against the use of the witnesses argued that since they were subpoenaed by Atiku as the petitioner, he ought to have front-loaded their statements on oath along with the petition.

He asked the Court to reject the witnesses and discountenance their statements on grounds of violating the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.

Tinubu's arguments against the subpoenaed witnesses were adopted by Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN who stood for the APC and Abubakar Mahmoud SAN who appeared for INEC.

However, Atiku's lead counsel, Chris Uche, SAN, asked the Court to dismiss the objections on the grounds that they were utterly misplaced and misconceived.

Uche argued that the objections by Tinubu, APC, and INEC were deliberate ploys designed to delay proceedings.

The senior lawyer insisted that the statements of the subpoenaed witnesses could not have been front-loaded along with the petition because they have not been summoned at the time of filing the petition.

He asked the Court to discountenance the objections of the three respondents and hold that they are not regular additional witnesses envisaged in the law cited by Olanipekun.

Although the Court stood down for ruling, the Presiding Justice of the Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani on resumption, announced that ruling in the objections had been reserved.

Justice Tsammani, however, ordered that the evidence of the three subpoenaed witnesses be taken and the respondents to cross examine them.

Meanwhile, the PEPC adjourned the hearing to June 9 for continuation.