Tribunal: Tinubu, APC kick against tendering of evidence from BVAS
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the All Progressive Congress (APC) have kicked against the tendering in evidence of information extracted from the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines used for the conduct of the 2023 presidential election.
Tinubu, through his team of lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN) on Wednesday opposed the admissibility of certified copies of printouts from the BVAS.
The certified copies of the BVAS printouts were brought before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) sitting in Abuja by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
Atiku had at the resumed proceedings on the law suit he filed against Tinubu and the APC in challenging the result of the presidential election that was held on February 25, 2023 insisted that the evidence he sought to tender was in respect of 33 states of Nigeria excluding Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and Lagos.
The documents were tendered from the bar by a member of the team, Prof. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) despite the presence of Atiku’s legal team led by Chris Uche (SAN) in court.
While the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it was also against the admissibility of the tendered documents other than the printouts of BVAS data which it deployed to Kogi, Sokoto and Rivers states, the APC, which was cited as the fourth respondent in the petition threw its weight behind its presidential flagbearer, Tinubu.
All the respondents said they would adduce reasons behind their objections, in their final written addresses.
Meanwhile, Jegede, SAN, told the court that the documents he tendered, were duly certified by INEC after all the necessary fees were paid.
Despite the objections, the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel, went ahead and admitted the documents from the BVAS into evidence and marked them as Exhibits PT 1 to PT 33.
Among other documents that Atiku equally tendered before the court on Wednesday, were results of the presidential election from Abia, Bayelsa, Kaduna and Ogun states.
Atiku’s lawyer told the court that the certified results, which were contained in Forms EC8A, were downloaded by INEC from its I-Rev portal.
However, the INEC’s team of lawyers led by Mr. Kemi Pinhero, SAN, opposed the admissibility of the downloaded election results.
Likewise, the counsel that handled the session for President Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, as well as the lawyer for the APC, Niyi Akintola, SAN, equally raised objections against the tendering of the results in evidence.
The Justice Tsammani-led panel admitted results of the presidential election from Abia state and marked them as Exhibits PJ, PJ1- PJ 16, even as it also marked their certification receipt as Exhibit PJ-17.
More so, the court also admitted in evidence, results of the presidential election from eight Local Government Areas in Bayelsa state and marked them as Exhibits PK 1 – 8, with the certification document marked as Exhibit PK-9.
As regards results from 23 LGAs in Kaduna state, the court marked them as Exhibits PL-1-23, while results from Ogun state were marked as Exhibits PM 1- 20.
The respondents further told the court that they would only allow the admittance in evidence, of results from five LGAs in Kogi states, which they listed as; Olamaboro, Ofu, Omala, Okehi and Ajaokuta.
Notwithstanding the position of President Tinubu and the other respondents in the matter, the court admitted bundles of Forms EC8E series from 23 LGAs in Kaduna state and marked them as Exhibits PN 1-23, even as it marked the ones from Kogi state as Exhibits PT 1- 23.
The court admitted and marked as Exhibits PQ 1- PQ 20, Forms EC8C from Kaduna state, while another 40 copies of Forms EC40G from the state were also admitted as Exhibits PR 1 to PR 40.
It further admitted in evidence and marked as Exhibits PS 1 to PC 10, copies of Form EC 40G from Ogun state, thus, taking the total number of exhibits the PDP candidate has tendered before the court, to 337.