Court admits flash drive of INEC chairman live interview as exhibit

… Reserves ruling in Tinubu objection

The Presidential Election Petition Court on Friday admitted two Flash Drives containing life interviews granted by the Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Yakubu Mahmoud and National Commissioner and Chairman of INEC’s Information and Voter Education Committee Mr. Festus Okoye to Channel Television as exhibits.

The Flash Drive was tendered by a senior reporter Lucky Obewo- Isawode who represented Channel Television at the PEPC session following a subpoena issued on the station to testify as Peter Obi’s witness under subpoena .

Obi and Labour Party in their petition are challenging the victory of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of APC and have alleged that the electoral body manipulated the conduct and result of February 25 general election in favour of Tinubu.

However the Court ,yesterday could not watch the video due to vehement objections and prolong arguments by the respondents to the tendering of the exhibits.

Presiding Justice Haruna Tsammani adjourned further hearing in the petition till 2 pm today to enable the court and parties watch the content of the videos.

When the matter resumed yesterday Mr Jibrin Okutepa SAN called Lucky Obewo Isawode a senior reporter/editor for channels Television to the witness box and asked him what he wanted the court to do with his statement on oath.

But before he could respond, Chief Akin Olujimi SAN counsel representing Tinubu and Kemi Pinhero counsel representing
INEC and APC counsel Chief Afolabi Fashanu SAN objected to the admissibility of the witness statement on oath.

They also questioned the competence of the witness on grounds that the statement and evidence should have accompanied the petition when it was filed.

In his response, counsel for Obi and Labour Party, Jibrin Okutepa urged the court to discountenance the objections of the respondents stating that once a subpoena is issued to an individual, the person becomes competent to testify in court.

He also stated that their objections amounts to technicality taken too far. The Court reserved it’s ruling on the competence of the witness till Judgment but the witness to testify.

Okutepa leading Lucky in evidence in chief told the court that the witness has two flash drives dated May 30,2023 and June 6, 2023, which contains live interviews with the chairman of INEC, Yakubu Mahmoud and another with that of Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC.

The respondents counsel again raised objection to the admissibility of the flash drives, arguing that they ought to have been served with the flash drive in advance in the interest of fair hearing to enable them prepare to cross examine the witnesses.

In response Okutepa urged the court to dismiss the respondents objections and play the video evidence.