Latest News

Presidential poll dispute: 5 INEC ad-hoc staff to testify against Tinubu in Court

In the petition that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), filed to contest the results of the 2023 presidential election, it has been approved for five ad hoc staff members of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to testify as special witnesses, Vanguard News reports.

In order to appear before the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, the INEC ad hoc staff members who took part in the administration of the contested presidential election were served subpoenas.

In the joint appeal he filed with his party, Atiku, who finished second in the presidential election that took place on February 25, said that President Bola Tinubu of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, had been the beneficiary of election rigging.

In a 66- page appeal, the former vice president accused the electoral commission of putting in place a third- party device that was allegedly used to intercept and change the results of the presidential election in favor of the APC and its candidate, Bola Tinubu.

He further claimed that INEC had replaced its in- house ICT specialist, Mr. Chidi Nwafor, who was helping it to establish the third- party mechanism, with an IT Consultant before to the election.

Atiku claims that the aforementioned IT consultant, Mr. Suleiman Farouk, saw to it that the gadget, also known as the gadget Management System (DMS), served as an intermediary between the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the IRev Portal.

He testified before the court that the DMS was the program that enabled Mr. Farouk, the INEC IT Security Consultant, to remotely manage, watch over, and filter data being communicated from the BVAS devices to the electronic collation system and the IRev platform.

As a result, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, the petitioners’ lead attorney, informed the court on Wednesday during the petition’ s resumed proceedings that his clients had summoned five INEC ad- hoc staff members who were involved in the conduct of the election to testify and provide sensitive documents as evidence.

According to him, three of the five witnesses were present in court, out of a total of five.

Lead counsel for the INEC, Mr. Abubakar Mahmood, SAN, made an objection as soon as the first subpoenaed ad- hoc staff member was brought into the courtroom and he mounted the witness stand.

In order to properly cross- examine the witnesses, Mahmood, SAN, the attorney for INEC, insisted that he needed time to review the witness statements, which he was only given a short time before the hearing began.

In addition, INEC’ s attorney said that he needed to return to the Commission to authenticate and verify the witnesses’ names in order to determine if they had in fact worked as ad hoc workers throughout the election.

The counsel for the APC, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, and Chief Akin Olujinmi, SAN, who represented President Tinubu, both agreed with the INEC’ s stance.

According to the respondents, they would need some time to read the witness statements that were served on them by the petitioners.