INEC Tackles Labour Party Over Election Document

The Independent National Electoral Commission has denied refusing to grant the Labour Party the necessary documents to further its case at the presidential election petition court.

INEC Tackles Labour Party Over Election Document
INEC Tackles Labour Party Over Election Document

The respondents in the petition marked CA/PEPC/PC/03/2023 are Ahmed Tinubu, Shettima, and the APC, listed as 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively.

At the resumed sitting on Wednesday Obi’s lead counsel Dr Livy Uzoukwu, SAN announced that the pre-hearing meeting scheduled for harmonization of documents by counsels was not successful because the INEC refused to provide the necessary documents.

Obi’s lawyer had told the court that despite efforts by his team, they only got about 30 percent of the required documents to prosecute the matter.

According to him, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC for Rivers state had blankly refused to provide any document including form EC8A demanded for, while INEC legal officer for Sokoto state demanded for a payment of N1.5 million naira as processing fees for certified copy of the needed document.

He said despite all the efforts including visits to the Independent National electoral commission, INEC Headquarters five times, they could not get more than 30 percent of the documents.

Dr. Uzoukwu further told the court that, in addition to his efforts, had written a letter to the INEC’s counsel detailing his predicaments on refusal of his client ( INEC ) to provide him with the needed documents.

Responding, Counsels for the respondents cited as 1st to 4th stated that Obi was unable to access the necessary documents because of his failure to pay the needed fees charged for certified copy

Counsel for the INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud specifically stated that his client is always willing to cooperate with parties to provide the needed documents.He, however, advised Obi’s lawyer to follow the necessary lay down protocol for accessing of certified copy.

Mahmoud said that a meeting between the counsel on harmonization of documents was not successful as the LP team walked out on Tuesday from the meeting.

For counsel to 2nd and 3rd respondents, Wole Olanipkekun, SAN he agreed with Mahmoud that the LP team failed to honour the agreement reached by the counsel

The respondents in their separate presentation accused Obi’s counsel of walking out of the pre-hearing meeting ordered by the court, an accusation Obi’ lawyer denied and rather said was a blackmail.

At the last sitting Obi and the LP had told the court that the parties met and agreed to ask for an adjournment to enable them to file and exchange necessary legal documents.

He had told the court that there were many processes and motions yet to be filed in the matter.

On its part, INEC, through its lawyer, Mr. A. B. Mahmood (SAN), confirmed that the parties met and agreed to ask for an adjournment after a brief meeting they held on Wednesday afternoon.

Likewise, counsel representing Tinubu and Shettima, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said the adjournment was necessary “so that when we come on Wednesday all the applications will be ready for adoption,” he added.

Similarly, counsel for the APC, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said his client believed that the adjournment would hasten the proceedings.

After it had listened to all the parties, the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel adjourn to Friday 19th may to hear all motions

Meanwhile, an attempt by the acting national chairman of the labour, Lamidi Apapa, and women leader of the party, Duba Manga to announce an appearance for the party was rejected by the panel.

The presiding justice Tsamman ruled that since they were two opposing camps of the party, the court reckoned with their appearance as the petitioner had announced an appearance for himself.

There was mild drama outside the courtroom as the Acting national chairman of the Labour, Apapa was beaten up and prevented from addressing the press and chased supposedly by the loyalists of Abure. They alleged that he was unknown to them.

At a press conference the acting National chairman, Apapa after the drama exerted himself as the right person to represent the party in court.

He accused Obi of masterminding his attacks arguing that if Obi who is in court to seek justice cannot refuse to Obey court order on authenticating him as chairman.

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