Eric Ofoedu, a mathematics professor, gave a witness statement yesterday in front of the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, in the case Labour Party, LP candidate Mr. Peter Obi filed to overturn President Bola Tinubu’s election victory. In his testimony, Prof. Ofoedu informed the court that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, uploaded over 18,088 result sheets for the presidential election that took place on February 25 that were obscured.
The don was the fourth witness to give testimony in the joint appeal Obi and his party filed to contest the results of the presidential election. The don identified himself to the court as being with the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka, Anambra State. The Respondents stated that they will provide justifications for their concerns in their final written address. They had also objected to Prof. Ofoedu’s statement made under oath being admitted as an exhibit before the court.
In particular, Mr. Abubakar Mahmood, SAN, the attorney for INEC, informed the court that he received the witness’s statement soon before the proceedings began. In light of the new information, he claimed, he would be unable to adequately cross-examine the witness. Counsel for President Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, as well as counsel for the All Progressives Congress, APC, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, backed his motion that the petitioners withdraw the respondent’s evidence.
Although the five-member panel, which was chaired by Justice Haruna Tsammani, did not permit the witness to testify and present the exhibits, it stated that it will decide the respondents’ objections before rendering a decision in the case. A report on the election’s data analysis, an inquiry of INEC’s outcomes viewing scores, and independent data analyses of the election results in the states of Rivers and Benue were among the documents the witness presented in evidence before the court.
Although the reports were accepted by the court and designated as exhibits PCG1–PVG3, the court also included as evidence blurred IReV polling unit results from 18,088 polling locations throughout the federation. The court granted permission for the respondents to question the witness today based on the parties’ agreement. The petitioners called their fifth witness, PW-5, Lumnie Edevbie, an employee of Arise News Television who had been summoned to provide a video exhibit, as soon as Prof. Ofoedu was excused from the witness stand.
The exhibit, which was on a flash drive, included a video of a speech Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, chairman of INEC, gave on January 17 at Chatham’s House in London. INEC Chairman Prof. Yakubu argued in a video clip shown in open court for the use of the IRev and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in the conduct of the general elections, describing them as the commission’s largest archive and repository of election results. Even as it postponed further hearing on the petition until today, the court stated that it will also decide on the objections before rendering its final decision. Obi, who is claiming to have won the election, is asking the court, among other things, to throw out Tinubu’s victory and revoke the Certificate of Return that INEC had given him.