The Presidential Election Petition Court sitting in Abuja on Monday, admitted as exhibits, more certified true copies of polling unit results (INEC Form EC8As) tendered by the presidential candidate of the Labour party, Peter Obi, in eight states.
Again, the admissibility of the documents were objected to by the Independent National Electoral Commission, Bola Tinubu, Kashim Shettima and All Progressives Congress, APC.
Obi is disputing the presidential election results declared in favor of President Tinubu in over 17 states and over 18,000 polling units with his petition also alleging overvoting in parts of the South West.
Before today’s proceedings, Obi’s legal team has tendered INEC Forms EC8As for 12 states, including Rivers, Niger, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Oyo, Edo, Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River and Ekiti states.
This is apart from five documents earlier tendered as evidence, including a United States District Court judgement on Tinubu’s forfeiture of 460,000 US dollars allegedly linked to drug trafficking.
Objections were raised against all the documents by the Independent National Electoral Commission, Tinubu, Kashim Shettima and the All Progressives Congress.
At the resumption of sitting on Monday, Chief Ben Anichebe SAN told the five-man panel of the court led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, that he would be continuing with the tendering of INEC certified Forms EC8As and some EC8C and EC8D (as they are available) for 8 states.
He went on to tender the INEC Form EC8As(polling unit results) for Ebonyi state with 13 LGAs (Exhibit PP1- PP13), Nasarawa (13 LGAs), Delta (25 LGAs), Kaduna State(23 LGAs), Imo (26 LGAs).
When Dr Mrs Valerie Azinge SAN took over from Anichebe, she tendered CTC of polling unit results for Ondo (18 LGAs), Sokoto (7 LGAs) and Kogi states(21 LGAs).
Lawyers representing the INEC, Tinubu, Shettima and APC, opposed admission of the documents sought to be tendered, saying the reasons for their opposition will be advanced before their final address.
Justice Tsammani subsequently admitted the polling unit results as evidence while marking them as Obi’s exhibits against the respondents.
Earlier in the proceedings, a member of Obi’s legal team, P.I. Ekweto SAN brought to the attention of the court to an interrogatory application which they filed seeking certain answers from INEC regarding accessing electoral materials.
He argued that for the petitioners’ case, the issues and answers the team seek to extract from INEC are germane for the trial.
“I am aware that before your pre-hearing report on May 23 , before that date, the petitioners’ filed an application on May 22 seeking leave to serve or deliver interrogatories on the first respondent.
“There are indeed about 12 questions which we indeed put down for them in that application.
“On the June 2, we filed an application for my lord’s leave, to enable us hear the application outside the pre-hearing session,” he said, praying the court to grant it urgently in view of the time bound nature of the PEPC.
But counsels for INEC and Tinubu opposed the application saying they are still within time to file their responses.
INEC counsel, A.B. Mahmoud described the application as a waste of time.
The panel held it would rule on it after the respondents have responded to the application.
The case was subsequently adjourned to Tuesday for continuation of hearing.
Last week, Mr Obi tendered electoral documents comprising result sheets from 12 states of the federation.
Despite winning the presidential election in Lagos, Nasarawa, Delta, Ebonyi, Imo and other states, Mr Obi argued that votes accruing to him were significantly suppressed in favour of Mr Tinubu.
Also, in aid of his case, the Labour Party candidate has called one witness.
He had indicated his intention to call 50 witnesses and tender tons of electoral documents to substantiate his claims of rampant fraud during the presidential election on 25 February.
Mr Obi has three weeks to prove his case against INEC, Mr Tinubu and the APC respondents in the suit.