Court reject Peter Obi’s motion to question INEC officials

The Labour Party candidate Mr. Peter Obi requested permission to question the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about the technology it used to conduct the general elections. On Saturday, the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja rejected his request.

Obi specifically asked the court to order the electoral board to respond to 12 important issues he outlined on an interrogatory he submitted on May 22. Obi is contesting the results of the presidential election that was held on February 25.

He requested that INEC provide the court with information such as the date the purportedly upgraded technological system it used for the elections underwent a functional test as well as the names and contact information of individuals who conducted the test.

In addition, he requested that the court order INEC to provide its responses to the following questions: “Who developed/deployed the four (4) application patches/updates to resolve the HTTP 500 problem that prohibited the e-transmission of the Presidential election results on February 25, 2023?

What time exactly did the technical issue arise that hindered the e-transmission of the presidential election results on February 25, 2023?

What time were the technical problems resolved or fixed?

What proportion of the presidential election results were posted on I-Rev on February 25, 2023?

“What proportion of the presidential election results were uploaded on the I-Rev as of the presidential election result announcement on March 1, 2023?

“Why were there glitches only with regard to the Presidential Election?,” Obi and his party continued. “If the Presidential Election was conducted concurrently with the National Assembly Elections on the same day and at the same time using the same technological devices.”

They insisted that the determination of the suit they filed to contest the declaration of President Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as the winner of the presidential election, would be greatly influenced by the Commission’s responses to the questions.

Nevertheless, the court was urged to reject the motion for lack of competence by each Respondent in the case.

The INEC, President Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and the APC are listed as the petition’s first through fourth respondents.

In the meantime, on Saturday, a five-member panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani unanimously decided to reject the case on the grounds that it had been submitted after the pre-hearing period had ended.

The panel approved Obi and the LP to play the two videos they had submitted as evidence in open court.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yukubu, stated in the first video that the election results would be electronically communicated and available to voters in real time during a news conference prior to the general elections.

In the second video, Mr. Festus Okoye, a National Commissioner for INEC, gave the same assurance that results would be made available to citizens via the I-Rev portal and sent in real-time.

The two video recordings, which the court designated as Exhibits and allowed in evidence, were demanded from Channels Television by subpoena.

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