Fri, 14 Jun 2024

 

Presidential tribunal asks Labour Party to bring proof on REC summons
 
By: Abara Blessing Oluchi
Wed, 21 Jun 2023   ||   Nigeria,
 

The Presidential Elections Petition Court, on Tuesday, asked the Labour Party to present proof that it served the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) across the country summons to provide electoral documents.

This is the submission made by the court as the Labour Party insisted that the electoral body was frustrating its case by deliberately evading summons.

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi was present, alongside some members of the party to witness the proceedings on Tuesday. The Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party are challenging the victory of President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Tribunal.

On the Labour Party’s petition, the justices asked the party to present proof that it served INEC RECs in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory summons to provide electoral documents following persistent calls that the electoral body was deliberately frustrating its case.

The five-member panel said it was clear that the Labour Party never issued subpoenas on the resident electoral commissioners in the states where it is seeking documents.

Counsel for Labour Party, Livy Uzoukwu had informed the court that INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, had given his commitment that all electoral documents will be made available on demand, from the RECs.

However, the court stated that the party did not explore Section 74 of the Electoral Act which stated that they must, on demand, provide documents within 14 days to the said party or pay a fine of N2m or imprisonment, or both, for defaulters.

The court said it was clear that the party didn’t lodge a complaint on the delay of documents, and has also failed to apply the penalty clause as stipulated in section 74.

The court added that whatever happened between the Labour Party and INEC was without the involvement of the court.

Meanwhile, under cross-examination for the party, a witness, Clarissa Ogar, who is a staff of amazon, admitted to be in court in her own capacity.

She said there was no technical glitch on the INEC server during the presidential election.

She, however, admitted that glitches can occur at any time while using the amazon software and application.

The court stood down its proceedings and reconvened at 2pm.

At the resumed hearing, the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar and his party told the court that they will close their case challenging the declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election on Thursday.

According to a pre-hearing report, the petitioners, were supposed to close their case on Tuesday but their lead counsel, Chris Uche brought to the notice of the court that they lost two days out of the days allotted to them and asked that the days be returned to them.

The petitioners have so far called 25 witnesses out of the 100 witnesses they proposed.

He said they might call additional five witnesses to have a round figure of 30 witnesses called.

The counsel for the PDP said that some of the documents to be tendered in the remaining two days would take the place of the remaining 70 witnesses.

Like the counsels for the Labour Party, he also lamented the difficulties encountered in getting certified true copies of documents out of INEC to aid them in challenging Tinubu’s election.

He, however, commended the legal team of the electoral body, for their assistance in getting some of the documents.

The five member panel of justices, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani adjourned till Wednesday, June 21 for continuation of hearing in the petitions.

 

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