Yesterday, a Mathematics Professor named Eric Ofoedu testified in the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) regarding the case filed by the Labour Party candidate Peter Obi, seeking to invalidate President Bola Tinubu’s election win.
During his testimony, Prof. Ofoedu informed the court that over 18,088 result sheets uploaded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to its election result viewing platform, IReV, were indistinct. He stated that while analyzing the election results, he discovered that the data uploaded by the electoral body needed to be more readable, with a particular focus on the outcomes in Rivers and Benue states.
The witness’s attempt to submit some documents as evidence was met with opposition from all the respondents in the case. The respondents objected to the admissibility of Prof. Ofoedu’s sworn statement as an exhibit, stating that they would present their objections in their last written address.
Mr. Abubakar Mahmood, SAN, the lawyer representing INEC, argued that he had been served with the witness’s statement shortly before the proceedings began, making it challenging to cross-examine the witness effectively. The request to set aside the evidence of the respondent was supported by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, counsel for President Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima, as well as Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, representing the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Although the five-member panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani did not allow the witness to testify or present the exhibits, it stated that it would rule on the objections raised by the respondents before delivering its judgment in the case.
Among the documents submitted by the witness as evidence were:
A data analysis report of the election
An Investigation into INEC results viewing scores
Separate data analyses of the election results in Rivers and Benue states
The court admitted these reports as exhibits PCG1-PVG3 and accepted the blurred results from 18,088 polling units across the country as evidence from the IReV. With the agreement of all parties, the court permitted the respondents to cross-examine the witness the following day.
Following the discharge of Prof. Ofoedu, the petitioners called their fifth witness, Lumnie Edevbie, PW-5, a staff member of Arise News Television who was subpoenaed to present a video exhibit.
In a flash drive, the exhibit included a video recording of a speech delivered by INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu at Chatham’s House in London on January 17. In the video played in open court, Prof. Yakubu advocated for using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and IReV for conducting the general elections, describing them as the commission’s primary archive and repository of election results. Although the respondents objected to the admissibility of this evidence, the court accepted it and marked it as an exhibit in the petition.
The court announced that it would also rule on these objections before issuing its final judgment and adjourned further hearings on the petition until the following day. Obi, who claims he won the presidential election, is seeking to nullify Tinubu’s victory and revoke the Certificate of Return issued by INEC.