The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) on Monday admitted to exhibit the final report of the European Union Election Observer Mission, which faulted the conduct and outcome of the 2023 presidential election that produced President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and others.
The report tendered by the former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 25 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, was admitted as an exhibit notwithstanding vehement objections by President Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In its report, the European Union Election Observer Mission claimed that the presidential election did not show credibility, fairness and transparency in the ways and manners in which it was conducted by INEC.
The report tendered through INEC’s sole witness and Director of Information Technology (IT), Lawrence Bayode, said only 31 percent of the presidential election result was uploaded into INEC’s result viewing portal.
In his evidence-in-chief, Bayode admitted that the electoral body has no electronic collation system for election results, hence, the presidential election result was not electronically collated.
Specifically, the INEC witness admitted that the collation of the presidential election results was done manually by the presiding officers of the electoral body.
Under cross-examination by Atiku Abubakar’s lead counsel, Chris Uche (SAN), the witness admitted that not all the presidential election results were uploaded into INEC’s results viewing centre as of March 1, 2023, when Tinubu was declared and returned as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
While the witness told the court that there was a technical glitch that affected the uploading of the presidential election results, the witness, however, under cross-examination admitted that such a glitch was not reported to Amazon Web Services (AWS) by the INEC.
Under cross-examination by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), lead Counsel to President Tinubu, the witness told the court that Form EC8A formed the basis of the election results and that data and network service were required for the upload of the images of the results captured by the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine.
He further testified that images captured on BVAS, whether transmitted electronically or manually, will not affect the integrity of the election, especially when results entered into Form EC8As are announced to the hearing and knowledge of party agents.
The INEC Director, while answering another question from Olanipekun, said, the February 25 presidential election results announced in favour of Tinubu were free, fair, transparent and in substantial compliance with the provisions of the law.
Also under cross-examination by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), lead counsel to the APC, the witness admitted that glitches were experienced on the election day but,however,r said, that the glitches did not affect the final results and scores of candidates at the election
With one witness and four documents tendered, INEC closed its defense in the petition filed by the former Vice President against the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
Meanwhile, President Tinubu has been ordered to open the defense of his victory in the presidential election on Tuesday, June 4, 2023, by the Presiding Justice of the Presidential Election Petition Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani.