Presidential Election: Why the LP and PDP should not be alarmed by INEC's objections - Effiong

Inibehe Effiong, a legal practitioner and social critic, has urged people not to panic over the Independent National Electoral Commission's, INEC's, objections to the admissibility of documents at the ongoing Presidential Election Petition Tribunal hearings, calling them a distraction.

Effiong claimed that the INEC-obtained documents had been duly certified, and that the Court would act on them.

In a post via his verified Twitter handle on Thursday, the legal expert claimed that “the Electoral Commission’s neutrality is a mirage, especially in electoral litigations”.

He alleged that the INEC had basically aligned its defence strategy with the other Respondents, including the All Progressives Congress, APC.

He wrote, “People should not panic over objections to admissibility of documents by INEC at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. I’m not surprised by INEC’s roguish and embarrassing attitude. These are public documents duly certified. The Court will act on them. It is a distraction.

“Ordinarily, INEC being the maker of the documents which they’ve certified, that is Form EC8 series (polling unit & collation results), they’re not supposed to object to their admissibility.

“I’ve always said that INEC’s neutrality is a mirage, especially in electoral litigations.

“The documents have been admitted, though the Respondents will state the grounds for their objections in their final addresses.

“Typically, the tribunal will look into the documents and act on them.

“As long as the documents have been duly certified, there’s no cause for alarm.

“INEC has basically aligned their defence strategy with the other Respondents (Tinubu, APC and Shettima). They’re working in sync as they always do.”

DAILY POST reported that President Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the INEC had on Wednesday objected to the admission of some documents sought to be tendered in evidence by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abubakar Atiku.

At the resumed hearing of the petition filed by Atiku and the PDP challenging the election of President Tinubu at the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja, counsel to the petitioners, Mr Chris Uche, SAN, said that the team had prepared a second schedule of documents to be tendered.

Some documents the petitioners tendered in evidence through Mr Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, were certified true copies of Form EC8A downloaded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from its Result Viewing Portal (IREV).

The Form EC8A was for eight local government areas of Bayelsa, 23 local government areas of Kaduna State, 20 local government areas of Ogun and of 23 local government areas of Kogi.

Form EC8As are sheets used for collection of results at the polling units level.

But counsel to INEC, Mr Kemi Pinhero, SAN, objected to the admissibility of all documents relating to Kogi except for those of five Local Government Areas, namely, Olamaboro, Ofu, Omala, Okehi and Ajaokuta.

He said this was because the five local governments whose documents he did not oppose were specifically pleaded in the petitioners’ pleadings.

Pinhero also objected to the admissibility of the documents relating to the BVAS except for Kogi, Rivers and Sokoto states.

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