After being summoned, INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu appeared on Thursday before the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja.
He presented a crucial document, Form EC9, containing the age of President Bola Tinubu. Tinubu submitted this document to INEC as part of his qualification requirements for the 2023 presidential election.
Former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar made the request for this document, challenging the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.
Atiku, along with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), claimed inconsistencies in Tinubu’s particulars, including his date of birth, educational background, state of origin, gender, actual name, and university attendance records at Chicago State University.
According to the petitioners, “The purported degree Certificate of the 2nd Respondent allegedly acquired at the Chicago State University did not belong to him but to a female (F) described as “F” in the Certificate bearing the name Bola Tinubu.
“The 2nd Respondent did not disclose to the 1st Respondent (INEC) his voluntary acquisition of the citizenship of Republic of Guinea with Guinean Passport No. D00001551, in addition to his Nigerian citizenship. The 2nd Respondent is hereby given notice to produce the original copies of his said two passports,” they added.
Following a request by the petitioners, the five-member panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani issued a subpoena on May 26, demanding that the INEC Chairman produce 11 sets of exhibits. During the latest court session on Thursday, Prof. Yakubu was absent in person but instead sent a senior official from the Commission to present four requested exhibits.
Representing Prof. Yakubu, Mrs. Moronkeji Tairu informed the court of her position as Deputy Director in the Certification & Complaints, Legal Drafting and Clearance Department at INEC headquarters in Abuja.
As a witness, Mrs. Tairu presented Form EC8D series, which contained the results of the presidential election from all 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
She also submitted Form EC8D(A), the final declaration of the presidential election result by INEC, as the second exhibit.
Furthermore, Mrs. Tairu presented reports and certified copies of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) from Rivers State and accreditation data from BVAS for all 36 states and the FCT.
The final document tendered was the certified true copy of President Tinubu’s Form EC9, which he submitted to INEC. It was marked as Exhibit PAJ 40.
Due to the large volume of some requested documents, the Commission provided 10 copies from each state and included additional details on flash drives, which were handed to the panel.
President Tinubu’s legal team, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, objected to the admissibility of all the documents, as did the All Progressives Congress (APC) through its legal team, led by Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN. They stated that they would provide their reasons for objection in their final written address.
INEC’s lead counsel, Mr. Abubakar Mahmood, SAN, stated that while they did not oppose the admissibility of the documents, they considered them irrelevant to the case and argued that the petitioners had not paid the necessary fees.
In response, the petitioners’ lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, informed the court that his clients had paid N6.7 million for the certification of all the requested documents from INEC.
The panel adjourned further hearing on the petition until Friday.