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Presidential election: INEC closes defence, Tinubu, Shettima set to take turns.



After calling one Witness, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which conducted the disputed election, closed its case Tuesday, July 4, 2023, at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) sitting in Abuja.

On Wednesday, it will be the turn of President Bola Tinubu and his Vice, Senator Kashim Shettima, to open their defence.

The five-member panel of Justices of the PEPC fixed the date for Tinubu and Shettima to open their defence.

This is against the backdrop of a joint petition filed by the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi, and his party, where they are challenging Tinubu’s declaration as the February 25 presidential election winner.

After the evidence of INEC’s sole Witness, Dr Lawrence Bayode, INEC’s Director, Information Technology (IT) department of the Commission and adoption of his witness statement on oath deposed to on April 10, 2023, the lead Counsel to the electoral body, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) announced the closure of the case of the electoral body in the petition.

Mahmoud led the Witness in evidence and tendered the cloud trail log report and certification in evidence. The court admitted the documents as an exhibit and taken as been read and demonstrated before the court.


The Absence of a Witness Delay INEC’s Defence on Obi’s Petition.

The Absence of a Witness Delay INEC’s Defence on Obi’s Petition.

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Under cross-examination by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Counsel to Tinubu and Shetimma, the Witness agreed that the foundation of any election conducted by INEC is the results recorded in Forms EC8As and that blurred results downloaded from INEC’s I-ReV will not affect the results recorded in Form EC8As.

The Witness agreed with Olanipekun that the E-Naira launched in October 2021 had not been activated due to technological impediments and that the E-Naira App had to be taken from the Google play store to fix its glitches shortly after it was launched.

He agreed with Tinubu’s lawyer that elections are practically concluded at the polling unit when the presiding officers input election results into Form EC8As, announce openly to the hearing of all parties and their agents, signing of Form EC8As as well as snapping of the forms by the Biomodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine.

Presidential election: INEC closes defence, Tinubu, Shettima set to take turns.

Responding to questions from Counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), the Witness told the court that it was the physical results in Forms EC8As that INEC used in computing the results of the Presidential election.

Dr Bayode said the glitches during the presidential election did not affect the collation of the election results and that if what was downloaded to I-ReV was unclear, physical results could be obtained to get the required information.

The Witness explained that the cloud trail logs are obtained from INEC’s account on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and show the activities of the patches deployed on the E-Transmission application on AWS to fix the glitches encountered on that day on INEC’s application.

Under cross-examination by Counsel to the petitioners, Mr Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), Dr Bayode agreed that the E-Transmission application was tested on February 4, 2023, before being used during the presidential election.

Ikwueto tendered the report of the test in evidence, and while INEC did not object to its admissibility by the court, Tinubu, Shettima and the APC, listed as second to fourth respondents, objected to the admissibility of the document and promised to give reasons for the Objection at the address stage. The court, however, admitted the document as an exhibit.

The Witness agreed with Ikwueto that the report of the E-Transmission application identifies remediation to be undertaken to resolve the high vulnerability identified in the report.

After the testimony of the sole Witness, Mahmoud announced the closure of INEC’s defence in the petition filed by Obi and his party against Tinubu’s election.

Olanipekun told the court that Tinubu and Shetimma, listed as second and third respondents in the petition, will open their case on Wednesday, July 5, to defend their victory at the February 25 presidential election.

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