The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has failed to open its defence at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) against the petition filed by the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
Obi is challenging the declaration of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the 2023 presidential election, alleging that INEC failed to conduct the election in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act (2022).
He also accused INEC of electoral malpractices and non-transmission of results electronically through the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV), as promised by the commission.
Obi and his party had closed their case on June 23, 2023, after presenting 13 witnesses and tendering several documentary and video evidence before the court.
However, when the case resumed on Monday, July 3, 2023, INEC’s lead counsel, Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, told the court that the commission was unable to present its first witness, who was involved in a domestic issue.
He said INEC intended to call three witnesses to defend the outcome of the presidential poll, but requested for an adjournment till Tuesday, July 4, 2023, to enable the commission to produce its first witness.
The request was not opposed by Obi’s lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, or by Tinubu’s lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, and APC’s lead counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN.
The Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel of the court granted the adjournment and adjourned the case till Tuesday.