…By Dorcas Funmi for TDPel Media.
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of sabotaging his case challenging the outcome of the 2023 presidential election.
Atiku expressed his disappointment, claiming that despite paying N6 million for the certification of exhibits he intended to present before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja, INEC refused to make the evidence available to him.
Postponement of Hearing
Atiku’s Counsel Requests Deferral
Atiku’s counsel, Eyitayo Jegede, urged Justice Haruna Tsammani-led’s five-member panel to postpone further proceedings on the petition filed by Atiku to nullify President Bola Tinubu’s election until the following day.
The request was made during the court session on Tuesday.
Limited Availability of Evidence
Atiku’s Lawyer Presents Partial Evidence
During the proceedings, Atiku’s lawyer sought to submit as evidence the election results from 10 out of 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Kogi State.
While Atiku had requested electoral materials from all LGAs in the state, he was only provided with results from specific areas.
The lawyer highlighted that these requested documents were previously listed in the schedule of documents that Atiku and the PDP had planned to rely upon to support their joint petition against President Tinubu’s declaration as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
Piecemeal Submission Concerns
Panel’s Caution on Exhibits Submission
Although the petitioners sought to present the available exhibits from Kogi State while waiting for the release of other documents by INEC, the Justice Tsammani-led panel emphasized that admitting such sensitive exhibits in a piecemeal manner would not be conducive to maintaining the court records.
Adjournment and Subpoenaing INEC Officials
Request for Adjournment and INEC’s Compliance
Atiku’s counsel requested an adjournment to allow time for his team to approach the Commission again, urging INEC to fulfill their obligations.
The former Vice President’s legal team had subpoenaed top INEC officials to compel them to produce the requested electoral documents in court.
The adjournment was sought to provide an opportunity for further engagement with INEC.
Non-Opposition to Adjournment
No Objection from Respondents
It is worth noting that none of the respondents in the case opposed the application for the matter to be adjourned until the following day, showing no objection to Atiku’s request.