INEC explains refusal to accept admittance of documents in evidence
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday in Abuja, seized an opportunity presented at the Presidential Election Petition Court, (PEPC) to explain its reasons for refusing that its own documents be admitted in evidence.
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP,) Mr Peter Obi and his party sought to tender the documents as exhibits to establish their petition against the conduct of the Feb. 25 Presidential Election.
INEC had on Thursday, through its counsel, Mr Kemi Pinhero, SAN, objected to the admission of several documents brought to the PEPC by the petitioners for the purpose of tendering them as exhibits in support of their petition.
At Friday’s proceedings, INEC also objected to all the certified true copies of the Form EC8A the petitioners sought to tender from local governments across six states.
INEC’s counsel, Pinhero told the court that the electoral body kicked against the tendering of certified true copies of the documents, mainly election result sheets, on the grounds that they were strange to the petition.
Pinhero explained that issues were not joined in the local government areas where the result sheets were sought to be tendered, adding that it was wrong for the petitioners to go beyond the areas where the election was disputed.
According to INEC, the local government areas unlawfully smuggled into proceedings of the court are totally strange to the petition and cannot stand in the face of the law.
The Chairman of the Court, Justice Haruna Tsammani, however, held that it was wrong for INEC’S lawyer to attempt to give reasons for his objection now when all parties had agreed during the pre-hearing stage to give reasons at the address stage.
The counsel, however, said that he was compelled to offer some explanation following the bashing the commission received in the media that it was objecting to the admittance of its own documents in court.
Meanwhile, the court has admitted as exhibits, Forms EC8A from 21 local government areas of Adamawa, Lagos state, eight local government areas of Bayelsa and parts of Rivers and Niger as tendered by the petitioners.