Presidential Election: Court admits EU final Reports as exhibit

…Just as INEC denies having an electronic collation centre

The Presidential Election Petition Court, (PEPC), on Monday admitted the final report of the European Union Observation Mission monitoring of the February 25 presidential election in evidence.

The report was tendered through the Independent National electoral commission (INEC), witness, Dr. Lawrence Bayode during cross examination by Abubakar Atiku’s counsel, chief Chris Uche, SAN and it was admitted in evidence despite vehement objection raised by respondents lawyers.

Bayode who turned out to be the sole witness of electoral body in defense of Atiku Abubakar petition also told the court that technical innovations introduced into the electoral process were to guarantee the integrity of the election result but claimed that INEC has no electronic collation centre.

Under further cross examination the witness said that “not all the presidential election results were uploaded on I-Rev before the declaration of the result on March 1st.

He said that there was a glitch in the transmission of the presidential election , but when asked whether the commission filed any report to Amazon Web Service, AWS on the glitches, the witness said the commission did not.

Earlier under cross examination by Counsel to the All progressive congress, APC, Chief Lateef Fagbami (SAN), the witness said technical hitches did not affect the actual scores of the parties as the result remained intact.

He said there was no electronic collation of the election result because it was done manually and the commission has no electronically collation centre.

Bayode an assistant director with INEC, said the commission notified the general public three days before the election that there would not be transmission of results. He said that the notification was published in the Tribune newspapers of Thursday February 25, 2023.

Meanwhile the INEC which had earlier told the Court that it has three witnesses abruptly closed its defence after Dr.Bayode’s testimony and the tendering of one document identified as a letter from All Progressives Congress (APC) to the commission.

The PEPC adjourned to July 4 for president Ahmed Tinubu to open his defence challenging his victory.

Recalled the EU report said the election exposes enduring systematic weakness and therefore signals a need for further legal and operational reforms to enhance Integrity and transparency .

Following a three – month -long observations across Nigeria , and in accordance with its usual practice, the EU EOM had presented it’s findings and recommendations among which was that “shortcomings in law and electoral administration hindered the conduct of well -run and inclusive elections and damaged trust in INEC.”