Presidential Tribunal Slams INEC For Opposing Obi’s Move To Tender Electoral Documents From Rivers
The lawyer representing the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Oluwakemi Pinheiro SAN on Friday tried creating a scene before the Presidential Election Petition Court sitting in Abuja when presidential candidate of the Labour party, Peter Obi rendered supplementary INEC Forms EC8As from Rivers State as exhibits.
But he was called to order by the presiding judges.
Obi’s legal team represented by Peter Afuba SAN had told the five-man panel of the court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani that he wanted to begin today’s proceedings by tendering the supplementary CTCs of INEC Forms EC8As for Rivers and Niger States before tendering the electoral materials in six states for today, namely, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Oyo, Edo, Lagos and Akwa Ibom states.
From the pre-hearing report of the court, parties earlier agreed and the court subsequently directed that lawyers will only object or oppose the tendering of any CTC of INEC documents but will reserve citing reasons for their objection till their written final address.
When Afuba was done, Pinheiro stood up, and objected to the tendering of the electoral materials.
He now went on to criticize in open court, the INEC Forms EC8As from Rivers saying “This documents are strange.”
But Justice Haruna Tsammani quickly interjected and asked why he was advancing his reasons for objection when it had been ordered by the court that the reasons for opposing tendering of INEC certified documents should be advanced in the written address of lawyers not at the point of tendering from the bar.
“Respect the rule of the court,” Justice Haruna Tsammani told him but Pinheiro went on by saying that it has ” been taken to the media that we are objecting our own documents.”
The panel moved away from him and asked Yusuf Ali SAN, the legal representation for the APC, his position on the supplementary electoral materials from Rivers State.
Ali also objected to it but said he would advance the reasons in his final address before final judgement, as directed by the court.
The court subsequently admitted the remaining INEC Forms EC8As from Rivers State as Obi’s exhibits.
Early this week, Obi’s team told newsmen after court session that INEC’s objection to its own documents were shocking.
INEC lawyers have refused speaking to the press since the PEPC commenced full hearing.
Tinubu and APC legal team had also informed the court that all of its lawyers are banned from addressing journalists on the petitions.
At the ongoing proceedings, Afuba successfully tendered the supplementary INEC EC8As Forms from Niger, Forms EC8As from Adamawa (21 LGAs), Bayelsa (8 LGAs), Oyo(31 LGAs), Edo(18 LGAs), Lagos, and Akwa Ibom State despite the objections from the respondents.
THE WHISTLER reports that Obi’s legal team presented one witness on Monday while tendering five documents as evidence, including a United States District Court judgement on Tinubu’s forfeiture of 460,000 US dollars allegedly linked to drug trafficking, despite objections from the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Other INEC Form EC8As tendered by Obi during previous proceedings include, INEC Form EC8As for Benue and Cross River state.
Obi is challenging the outcome of the presidential election in 18 states, and over 18,000 polling units.