President Tinubu, Shettima to open defense in Obi, LP’s petition Wednesday

…As INEC closed defense

President Ahmed Bola Tinubu and his Vice, Senator Kashim Shettima will, on Wednesday, July 5, 2023, open their defense in the joint petition filed by the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi and his party challenging Tinubu’s declaration as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.

The five-member panel of Justices of the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) fixed the date for Tinubu and Shetimma to open their defense after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which conducted the disputed election closed its case after calling only one witness.

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.

Leading the witness in evidence, Mahmoud tendered the cloud trail log report and a certificate in evidence and the court admitted the documents as exhibit and took it as been read and demonstrated before the court.

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.

Justifying that glitches occurred during the collation of the result of the election
the witness agreed with Olanipekun that the E-Naira launched in October, 2021 has not been activated due to technological impediment and that the E-Naira App has to be taken from Google play store for the purpose of fixing its technological glitches shortly after it was launched.

He agreed with Tinubu’s lawyer that, election are practically concluded at 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.

Answering 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 which occurred during the presidential election did not affect the collation of the election results and that, if what was downloaded to I-ReV was not clear, physical results can be obtained to get the required information.

The witness explained that the cloud trail logs are obtained from INEC’s account on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) and it show the activities of the patches that were deployed on the E-Transmission application on AWS to fix the glitches that were 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 it was deployed for use 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 their objections at the address stage.

The court however, admitted the document as exhibit.

The Witness agreed with Ikwueto that the report of the E-Transmission application identified measures / steps 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 defense in the petition filed by Obi and his party against Tinubu’s election.

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