Tribunal orders INEC chairman to produce electoral documents

The five-member tribunal has asked INEC to produce the documents by Thursday.

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal has ordered the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, to produce some documents for which it had been issued a subpoena.

Yakubu and INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in Zamfara, Dr Asmau Maikudi, had been issued the subpoena on the request of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its 2019 election presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

Abubakar had lost the February 23 election to President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), but he and the PDP have rejected the result and contested it before the five-member tribunal.

During proceedings on Wednesday, July 17, 2019, the petitioners’ lawyer, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), alleged that INEC officials have been instructed to not release the documents even after payment of certification fees made to the commission.

The Justice Mohammed Garba-led panel ordered Yakubu and Maikudi to produce the documents by noon on Thursday, July 18.

“The INEC chairman and the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Zamfara and the legal team representing them are under binding obligation to ensure that the orders contained in the subpoena are obeyed,” he said.

Atiku vs Buhari

INEC announced in February that Buhari won the 2019 election with 15,191,847 of the total votes cast. Atiku scored 11,262,978 votes.

However, in a petition filed before the tribunal, Atiku claimed that he actually won the election with 1.6 million more votes than Buhari according to an internal compilation of results he claimed was obtained from INEC’s server.

According to the result obtained from the INEC server as claimed by Atiku in his petition, the former vice president actually scored 18,356,732 votes while Buhari scored 16,741,430 votes. This does not include results from Rivers State which had allegedly not been transmitted at the time Atiku claims the data was captured.

While filing its response before the tribunal on April 11, INEC accused Atiku and the PDP of producing fake election results to prove their case.

“INEC specifically denies the existence of electronic transmission of results and it is unknown to the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended),” the commission noted in its response.

Atiku also accused Buhari of not possessing the educational qualification to contest, alleging that he submitted false academic documents to INEC to aid his qualification.

In their counter to Atiku’s petition, Buhari and the APC said the former vice president is not qualified to contest for the presidency because he was born in Adamawa State at a time when it was Northern Cameroon before it voted during a 1961 referendum to align with Nigeria.

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