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PEPC admits INEC’s Form EC8A for Obi in six states as three testify for Atiku

The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), yesterday, admitted in evidence Form EC8A from six states to advance the petition of Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, against the victory of President Bola Tinubu.

The presiding judge of the five-man panel, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani, admitted the form, which belongs to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in respect of 23 local councils of Benue State.

They were, accordingly, marked as Exhibit PC (1-23). For Rivers State, the court admitted the form for 15 of the 23 councils of the state, marked PD (1-15).

Counsel for Obi and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Emeka Okpoko, who handled proceedings on behalf of the lead counsel, also tendered Form EC8A for 23 councils in Niger State.

The court admitted this in evidence and marked it as Exhibit PE (1-23). Obi also produced the form for Osun State, challenging the election in 20 councils. This was, again admitted and marked as Exhibit PF (1-20).

For Ekiti State, the form for 16 councils was admitted and marked as Exhibit PG (1-16). During proceedings, counsel to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th respondents objected to admissibility of the evidence and sought to advance reasons for their objection at final written address.

While tendering the document, which the court said was not properly arranged, the PEPC admonished Obi’s lawyer to put his house in order. The tribunal, specially, told Obi’s counsel to arrange the documents in sequential order, to save the time of the court.

The court adjourned to today for continuation of hearing Also, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his party, yesterday, called three witnesses who testified in the petition challenging Tinubu’s victory.

Joe Agada, from Ofarashi polling unit in Ogugu, Kogi State, was the first to mount the witness box, praying the court to adopt his written statement on oath as evidence.

He said that as a collation officer, he had the privilege of personal observation, and also received reports from PDP polling agents. When cross-examined by INEC’s lawyer, Abdullahi Aliyu (SAN), the witness said he visited about 20 polling units across two senatorial districts of the state during the elections.

He added that some collation agents were coerced into signing election results because INEC officials allegedly insisted the agents would not be issued a copy of the result except they signed.

Another witness, Sunday Adekunle, an accountant from Abeokuta, said the election was marred by non-compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act 2022. He added that INEC officers did not sign all results at polling units.

A former House of Representative member, Nzoma Nken Abonta from Abia State, also testified, saying there were gaps in figures submitted by INEC.
The court adjourned to today for continuation of hearing.

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