Inibehe Effiong, a lawyer and social critic, has urged people not to panic over INEC’s objections to the admissibility of documents at the current hearings at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, calling them a distraction.
According to Effiong, the INEC’s objected documents were properly certified, and the Court will take action as a result.
The legal expert stated on Thursday that “the Electoral Commission’s neutrality is a mirage, especially in electoral litigations” in a post on his verified Twitter account.
He claimed that the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the other Respondents had essentially aligned their defence strategies.
People shouldn’t panic over INEC’s objections to the admissibility of documents at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, the author advised. I don’t find INEC’s arrogant and embarrassing behaviour surprising. These are legally certified public documents. On them, the Court will take action. It diverts attention.
“Normally, INEC is not supposed to raise an objection to the admissibility of the documents that they have certified, Form EC8 series (polling unit & collation results), since INEC is the creator of those documents.
“I’ve always claimed that INEC’s supposed impartiality is a mirage, particularly when it comes to electoral litigation.
The Respondents will outline the reasons for their objections in their closing addresses, but the documents have been admitted.
“Normally, the tribunal will review the documents and take appropriate action.
“There’s no need to worry as long as the documents have been properly certified.
“INEC’s defence strategy is essentially in line with that of the other Respondents (Tinubu, APC, and Shettima).” They are collaborating as they always do.
According to reports, President Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the INEC objected on Wednesday to the admission of some documents that Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, wanted to submit as evidence.
At the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja’s resumed hearing of the petition filed by Atiku and the PDP contesting the election of President Tinubu, the petitioners’ attorney, Mr. Chris Uche, SAN, announced that the team had prepared a second schedule of documents to be tendered.
A few of the documents that the petitioners submitted as evidence were certified true copies of Form EC8A that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had downloaded from its Result Viewing Portal (IREV).
The Form EC8A was for eight Bayelsa local government areas, 23 Kaduna State local government areas, 20 Ogun local government areas, and 23 Kogi local government areas.
Sheets called Form EC8As are used to collect results at the level of voting units.
However, Mr. Kemi Pinhero, SAN, the counsel for INEC, raised an objection to the admissibility of all documents pertaining to the Kogi Local Government Areas, with the exception of those from Olamaboro, Ofu, Omala, Okehi, and Ajaokuta.
He claimed that this was the case because the petitioners’ pleadings specifically pleaded the five local governments whose documents he did not oppose.
Apart from the states of Kogi, Rivers, and Sokoto, Pinhero also objected to the documents pertaining to the BVAS being admissible.