Tinubu in Trouble As Court Admits INEC’s Exhibit Containing His Bio-data

Tinubu in Trouble As Court Admits INEC’s Exhibit Containing His Bio-data

FOLLOWING a summon issued on him, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, yesterday produced before the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja, a document that contained President Bola Tinubu’s age.

The document, known as Form EC9, was an affidavit of personal particulars that President Tinubu submitted to the INEC in aid of his qualification to contest the 2023 presidential election.

Former Vice President and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who is challenging the outcome of the presidential election that was held on February 25, had in an application filed through his legal team, persuaded the court to summon the INEC boss to, among other exhibits he requested for, produce the document containing Tinubu’s bio-data.

Atiku, in a joint petition filed with his party, insisted that President Tinubu had “demonstrated inconsistency as to his actual date of birth, secondary schools he attended (Government College Ibadan); his state of origin, gender, actual name; certificates evidencing universities attended (Chicago State University

“The purported degree Certificate of the 2nd Respondent allegedly acquired at the Chicago State University did not belong to him but to a female (F) described as “F” in the Certificate bearing the name Bola Tinubu.

“The 2nd Respondent did not disclose to the 1st Respondent (INEC) his voluntary acquisition of the citizenship of Republic of Guinea with Guinean Passport No. D00001551, in addition to his Nigerian citizenship. The 2nd Respondent is hereby given notice to produce the original copies of his said two passports.’’

Sequel to an application by the petitioners, Justice Haruna Tsammani-led’s five-member panel on May 26, issued a subpoena for the INEC chairman to produce 11 sets of exhibits.

Consequently, at the resumed proceedings in the case yesterday, though Prof. Yakubu was not physically present in court, he sent a senior official of the commission to tender four of the requested exhibits.

His representative, Mrs. Moronkeji Tairu, told the court that she is a Deputy Director, Certification & Complaints, Legal Drafting and Clearance Department at the INEC headquarters in Abuja.

Specifically, Mrs. Tairu, who mounted the witness box, told the court that she brought Forms EC8D series, which were results of the presidential election from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.

The second exhibit she tendered before the court was a Form EC8D(A), which was the final declaration of result of the presidential election by INEC.

Prof. Yakubu’s representative further tendered reports of extracts from the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, machines in respect of Rivers State, as well as certified copies of accreditation data from the BVAS, relating to the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.

Lastly, the witness tendered the certified true copy of the Form EC9 President Tinubu submitted to INEC and it was admitted in evidence and marked as Exhibit PAJ 40.

Mrs. Tairu told the court that owing to the bulky nature of some of the requested documents, the commission extracted 10 copies from each state and packaged the remaining details in flash drives she also handed over to the panel.

Meanwhile, President Tinubu, through his team of lawyers, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, opposed the admissibility of all the documents in evidence.

The All Progressives Congress, APC, through its legal team, led by Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, equally raised its objection against all the exhibits tendered by representative of the INEC chairman.

The Respondents said they would in their final written address, adduce reasons behind their objections.

On its part, INEC, through its lead counsel, Mr. Abubakar Mahmood, SAN, said though it was not opposed to the admissibility of the documents which it described as irrelevant to the case before the court, it, however, contended that the petitioners did not pay the necessary fees.

Responding, the petitioners’ lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, told the court that contrary to the position of INEC’s lawyer, his clients, paid N6.7million for the certification of all the documents they requested from INEC.

Earlier in the proceedings, a statistician, Mr. Samuel Oduntan, who testified as the 21st witness in the matter, told the court that based on his analysis, Atiku and the PDP won the presidential election.

The witness told the court that he inspected and analysed electoral materials used for conduct of the election, especially the Forms EC8A, which were polling unit results in 26 states of the federation.

Answering questions under cross-examination, the statistician said he carried out quality checks before he reached conclusions on data he presented in the reports he tendered in evidence before the court.

While being cross-examined by President Tinubu’s lawyer, Chief Olanipekun, SAN, the witness said he had in the past analysed electoral materials in many election-related disputes.

He, however, admitted that no pictorial evidence of the electoral materials he inspected at INEC’s headquarters at the behest of Atiku and the PDP was attached to his report before the court.

According to the witness, the process of his analysis involved the deduction of votes credited to the three major political parties, in polling units where the election was marred by irregularities.

He told the court that he was not equally satisfied with results from both Adamawa and Kano states, which were won by the PDP and the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, adding that he had in his report, also called for deduction of “irregularities votes” in the states Labour Party won.

Answering questions from APC’s lawyer, Prince Fagbemi, SAN, the witness, said: “I have been following INEC’s activities since 1999. I am aware that the chairman of INEC had in the buildup to the 2023 general elections, stated that results of the election would be electronically transmitted and in real time.

“I, however, did not hear at any time before the election when he said that owing to the issue of security and cash crunch, the commission could no longer transmit results of the election electronically.”

Asked if he extracted information from the BVAS machines before packaging his report, the witness, said: “As at the time of preparing the report, the BVAS machines had already been reconfigured for another round of elections. So they were not available for me to extract information from them.

I am aware that the laid down rule was that the BVAS machines were to be used for the accreditation of voters,” he added.

He told the court that from results of 26 states he analysed with his team, comprising six members, Atiku secured majority votes in 12 states.

“I was the only one that signed the report because I was the team leader,” he added.

However, the APC drew the attention of the court to the fact that while the witness in a page in his report, claimed he analysed results in 28 states, on another page, he claimed the analysis was with respect to all the 36 states of the federation.

The Justice Tsammani-led panel adjourned further hearing on the case till today.


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