Atiku accuses INEC of refusing to release electoral documents despite paying the required fees

Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of not granting his legal team free access to vital electoral documents to enable him to prove his case against President Bola Tinubu.

Eyitayo Jegede, Atiku’s lawyer, stated this at the resumption of proceedings on Tuesday at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja, after the PEPC said Atiku’s legal team should present all its documentary evidence for Kogi state in a whole bunch.

Jegede, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had sought to tender some results sheets from 10 out of 21 Local Government Areas of Kogi State to substantiate their case against the election of Tinubu.

The documents used for the conduct of the 25 February presidential poll are those from – Ankpa, Dekina, Idah, Ofu, Olamaboro, Yagba East, Yagba West, Kabba-Bunu and Igalamela Odolu were sought to be tendered by Jegede on behalf of his client.

But the court said such will make the court have difficulty in marking and numbering the documents as exhibits.

In his response, Jegede blamed INEC for refusing to supply the documents wholesale to Atiku’s legal team and said INEC’s refusal to provide electoral documents to his legal team was frustrating their suit.

He informed the court that Atiku had paid N6 million as a cost to supply true certified copies of electoral documents. Yet, the electoral umpire allegedly refuses to make the poll records available.

Jefede disclosed that Atiku’s team was left with no option but to subpoena officials of the electoral commission to bring the required documents before the court.

He sought a 24-hour adjournment to further request the necessary documents from INEC.

INEC’s lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud, a SAN, did not object to the request for an adjournment. Likewise, Wole Olanipekun, Tinubu’s lawyer and APC’s lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi, both SANs, did not oppose the adjournment of the case.

Subsequently, the court adjourned the case until 7 June for further hearing.

Atiku, who came second in the February presidential election, is challenging the victory of Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the court, citing manipulation of election results by INEC in favour of Tinubu.

One of Atiku’s major prayers is for the court to nullify Mr Tinubu’s victory and declare him president. He is also praying for the court to order a fresh poll should it refuse to declare him president.

Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, is equally challenging Tinubu’s victory.

Obi is alleging electoral fraud against INEC and Mr Tinubu.


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