UPDATES: Presidential Tribunal Adjourns Hearing Of Atiku’s Case Till Tuesday

Since Tuesday, May 30, the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) has been hearing petitions challenging the victory of President Bola Tinubu (All Progressives Congress) in the February 25 presidential election.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar; the Labour Party and its candidate, Peter Obi; and the Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM) are the petitioners.

On the other hand, the respondents include the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Tinubu, Vice-President Kashim Shettima, and the APC.

According to results declared by INEC, Tinubu, 71, got 8,794,726 votes, 76-year-old Atiku polled 6,984,520 votes and Obi, 61, finished the race with 6,101,533.

This was the first presidential election to deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) — an electronic system for accrediting voters before voting and transmitting results to the INEC server — as well as the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV).

Channels Television correspondents Emmanuela Ekele and Friday Okeregbe provide all the latest developments.

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12:31 pm: The court has adjourned hearing on this petition till Tuesday, June 6 for continuation of hearing.

The court proceeds on recess to reconvene at 2 pm for hearing of other cases.

12:29 pm: The witness affirms to the court that the results sheet was mutilated after he signed the document.

12:04 pm: The witness tells the court that he signed the results under duress to secure a copy of the results sheet, even though he did not state this in his statement on oath.

11:58 am: The witness tells the court that the BVAS failed at the point when results were to be uploaded.

11:55 am: The fourth witness is one Ibrahim Mohammed Hamza, a resident of Lafia, Nasarawa State.

Shown a copy of the INEC results from Nasarawa state, the witness identifies his signature on the document, but the results sheet he signed during the exercise did not have cancellations like the one presented to him now.

11:19 am: A third witness for the day is Mr Abraham David, also a resident of the FCT.

The witness agrees that Atiku did not score 25 percent of votes in the FCT. He however insists that Atiku is entitled to be returned as the winner of that election, even though he did not score the 25 percent in the FCT.

10:48 am: Under cross-examination, the defense counsel asks the witness if it is his opinion that a winner must score 25 percent of the votes in the FCT, and he says no.

He tells the court that his candidate Atiku Abubakar did not score 25 percent of votes in the FCT. Asked if by that calculation, Atiku qualifies to be returned as the winner of the election, the witness answers in the negative.

10:37 am: The second witness for the day is one Alhaji Mohammed Madaki, the current Chairman of the PDP in the FCT. As in the case with the previous witness, the prosecuting counsel calls for the results sheet of the presidential election in the FCT, which the witness identifies.

10:25 am: The witness tells the court that he was not the one who signed the results sheet.

10:06 am: Under further cross-examination by counsel to the respondents, the witness tells the court he voted during the presidential election in Rivers State, and waited for about 10 minutes before leaving the polling units, but came back to the unit during the counting.

He says the results sheet was filled and signed by the PDP party agent in the unit. He also says he visited other polling units, about 20 of them, and that the polling units did not upload their results. He asserts that the same thing happened in other units in the state.

9:57 am: Under cross-examination, the petitioner’s counsel calls for the results from Rivers State as declared by INEC. The document is presented to the witness to identify if it contained the same results declared by INEC on the day of election, to which the witness answers in the affirmative.

9:53 am: The witness presented to the tribunal his letter of appointment by the PDP to serve as the Rivers State collation officer for the party. The letter is adopted by the court, as counsels raised no objection to it.

Monday, June 5, 2023

9:28 am: The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja resumes its hearing in the case of the presidential candidate of the PDP and Atiku Abubakar vs INEC, Bola Tinubu/Shettima and the APC.

The first and third respondents — INEC and the APC — are physically represented in court. While the APC is represented by its Director of Legal Services, INEC is represented by National Commissioner May Agbamuche.

Lawyers to both parties announce their presence.

On Friday, the PDP presented three additional witnesses, who were cross-examined by the counsel to the respondents before the matter was adjourned to today.

The hearing for today continues with witnesses presentation. The petitioner says he has four more witnesses to call. He already called 6 witnesses in previous sitting.

The first witness for the day is one doctor Abiye Sekibo of Rivers State, a medical doctor and a businessman.

5:10 pm: Under cross-examination, the witness says he visited most polling units, but was not present at all the 2,964 polling units in the state.

4:53 pm: A third witness is called by the petitioner. He is one Mr Silas Joseph Onu, a legal practitioner who was the PDP state collation agent for Ebonyi State.

4:42 pm: The witness also tells the court that results were changed at the ward collation centres. Asked further if he indicates the results he feels are the actual scores from the field in his witness statement, he says no.

4:26 pm: The second witness called is one Mr Nicholas Msheliza. He tells the court he is a businessman and a politician. He was the PDP Borno State collation officer.

Under cross-examination, the witness confirms to the court that agents of the PDP at polling units performed their jobs “very well” — where they were allowed to do so.

4:21 pm: The witness also confirms to the court the results from Niger State as announced by INEC, which he insists he refused to sign to.

However, when asked if he stated the figures he claims were scored by his party at the election, the witness says no.

3:55 pm: Under cross-examination, the witness says he is a registered voter, and he voted during the presidential election. Asked if he is familiar with the process, the witness answers in the affirmative.

The witness also confirms to the court that the PDP has polling agents in all the polling units, who performed their jobs as expected.

3:47 pm: The first witness tells the court he is a former member of the House of Representatives and a businessman. He is a state collation officer for Niger State in the February 25 presidential election.

3:45 pm: The matter is the continuation of hearing of the petitioner (PDP)’s case.

Lead counsel to the petitioner, Chris Uche (SAN), says he has three witnesses to call. The petitioner calls his first witness, one Hon. Sani Idris Kutigi.

3:26 pm: The tribunal resumes from recess.

Now, it will entertain the petition of the PDP candidate, Atiku ABUBAKAR vs INEC, Tinubu and the APC.

FILES: Atiku (front row left) at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal on Thursday, May 11, 2023.

12:26 pm: The counsel of both parties request that the matter be adjourned to Monday, June the 5th. The court obliges the request and adjourns hearing to Monday, June 5, 2023.

The court goes on recess till 3 pm when it will reconvene to continue with the case of the PDP and Atiku vs Tinubu, APC, and INEC.

12:13 pm: Having presented evidences from states, Peter Afuba (SAN) who is one of the Counsel to the petitioner, applied that all the certified true copies of Election results, tendered as evidence in the court be taken as read.

Again, The Counsels to the first, second, thirds and fourth respondents refuse to give their consent,in view of their previous objections to the admissibility of the documents.

11:42 am: Additional evidence tendered by the petitioner are from 8 LGAs in Bayelsa, 31 LGAs in Oyo, and 18 LGAs in Edo.

The Labour Party is also presenting further evidences from 20 LGAs in Lagos state, where they argue that their votes were under counted

The affected 20 LGAs include Apapa, Lagos Island, Lagos mainland, Ikorodu, Amuwo Odofin, Ibeju lekki, Ikeja, Ifako- Ijaye, Kosofe, and Oshodi-Isolo

11:29 am: Tribunal admits results from Kogi, Rivers, Niger, Adamawa, Oyo, Bayelsa and Edo states, tendered by the Labour Party.

10:34 am: Apart from evidence from Rivers and Kogi states, the petitioner is also presenting additional certified true copies of election results from Bida LGA of Niger State, and 21 LGAs in Adamawa State.

10:20 am: It’s the turn of the LP, Peter Obi vs APC, Tinubu, Shettima.

Lead counsel to Obi informs the court that he has a schedule of more evidence which they desire to render before the court.

The counsel is continuing with evidence (election results) from Rivers and Kogi states. He presents certified true copies of INEC elections results from six LGAs in Rivers State as evidence.

Again, counsel to the first, second and third respondents object to the admissibility of the evidences.

However, the court has admitted the documents as evidence, while awaiting the arguments of the respondents who are opposed to the admissibility of the documents.

Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi and National Chairman Julius Abure appear in court for the presidential election petitions tribunal on Friday, June 2, 2023

10:20 am:  However, the court has admitted the documents as evidences, while awaiting the arguments of the respondents who are opposed to the admissibility of the documents

10:01 am: The day’s proceedings, presided over by Justice Haruna Tsammani, commences with the petition of the Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM) vs INEC, APC, and President Bola Tinubu.

The APM, in its petition, contends that the withdrawal of Ibrahim Masari, who was initially nominated as the vice presidential candidate of the APC invalidated Tinubu’s candidacy in view of Section 131(c) and 142 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

But the tribunal adjourned at the last sitting, to enable parties obtain copies of the judgement in a similar matter between the PDP and APC, Tinubu, which the respondents in this matter say have been thoroughly dealt with.

The matter is again adjourned to next week Friday, June 9, on the ground that the counsel has not been able to obtain copies of the Supreme Court judgement referred to here.

Friday, June 2, 2023

9:26 am: LP presidential candidate Peter Obi and National Chairman, Julius Abure, arrive in court.

At Thursday’s proceeding, the candidate tendered results from 115 local government areas (LGAs) as part of his evidence to back his claims, but the respondents opposed the evidence tendered by the Labour Party candidate.