Tribunal: Atiku’s suit over INEC’s alleged refusal to release electoral documents adjourned by Court

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On Tuesday Hearing in the petition by former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar against the election of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was abruptly adjourned by the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja due to alleged refusal of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to make some critical electoral materials available to him.

The Court shifted further hearing in the petition till June 7 pending the time the electoral body is expected to have responded to the request of Atiku and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the supply of some documents.

At proceedings, Eyitayo Jegede, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, who conducted proceedings for Atiku had sought to tender forms EC8A from 10 out of 21 Local Government Areas of Kogi State to establish the petition against Tinubu.

The exhibits, mainly documents used for the February 25 Presidential Election, are those from Ankpa, Dekina, Idah, Ofu, Olamaboro, Yagba East, Yagba West, Kabba-Bunu and Igalamela Odolu.

Although the schedule of documents to the effect was filed along with the exhibits, the Court however noted that tendering such sensitive exhibits at piece meals would not be of any help, especially in the areas of marking and numbering them.

Jegede who rose to the questions put to him by the Court stood his ground and blamed the INEC for deliberate refusal to supply his client with the vital documents.

The Senior lawyer, who hinted the Court that Atiku had paid as much as N6 million for the supply of certified true copy of the exhibits, lamented that the electoral body had not been forthcoming and cooperating as required.

Jegede explained that to save the situation, the legal team of the former Vice President had to subpoena top officials of INEC to compel them to bring the required documents before the Court on their own.

However, in the end, the senior lawyer sought for a 24-hour adjournment to enable him to approach the electoral body to do the needful.

Following no objections from counsel to the respondents, INEC, represented by Abubakar Mahmud, SAN, Tinubu represented by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, having Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, as lead counsel, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani adjourned the matter till June 7.

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