On Wednesday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) responded to the claims made by the legal team of the Labour Party (LP) and its candidate, Peter Obi, regarding the commission’s alleged refusal to comply with subpoenas served on them.
The LP and Obi are contesting the presidential election’s outcome, where Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress was declared the winner.
During previous proceedings, the petition accused INEC of denying them access to sensitive documents crucial to substantiate their claim that Tinubu did not win the election.
During Wednesday’s hearing, the petitioners’ counsel, Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), requested an adjournment and once again raised the issue that INEC had consistently refused to produce the requested documents despite their efforts.
Expressing displeasure at the insinuation that his client was uncooperative, INEC’s counsel, Kemi Pinhero (SAN), stated, “Don’t use INEC as a scapegoat.”
Pinhero added, “It has become a recurring pattern for them to search for someone to blame. I am not aware of any discussion he had with A.B. Mahmoud. It cannot be true that the receipt or the subpoenas were refused.”
“They often blame INEC or claim that INEC has withheld documents from them. It is incorrect to say that the chairman’s office refused to respond to the subpoenas. The Chairman of INEC has no vested interest. It is unfair to INEC. If they have nothing to do today, they should say so.”
In light of the heated exchange, Justice Haruna Tsammani, the presiding judge of the Presidential Election Petition Court, advised both parties to remain calm.
Subsequently, the court adjourned the matter to June 15 for further proceedings.
Meanwhile, the tribunal adjourned the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to today (Thursday).
The PDP and Atiku are likewise challenging the outcome of the presidential election at the PEPC, which resulted in Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress being declared the elected president.