Presidential election court plays video clips of INEC chair, Tinubu in Peter Obi’s petition
The Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja on Saturday played three video clips as evidence of Labour Party’s presidential candidate Peter Obi’s suit challenging President Bola Tinubu’s victory.
Mr Tinubu, who won Nigeria’s presidency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the February presidential election, is battling to sustain his victory in court.
In a bid to prove his allegation of Nigeria’s electoral commission, INEC’s, non-compliance with its guidelines in the conduct of the 25 February presidential election, Mr Obi’s legal team tendered two flash drives containing INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, and another top official’s press interviews.
Another video recording contained Mr Tinubu’s press interview at Daura, Katsina State, where he had gone to intimate former President Muhammadu Buhari of his intention to pick Kashim Shettima as his running mate at the polls.
Mr Obi’s lawyer, Jibril Okutepa, had on Friday tendered the videotapes containing the interviews before the five-member panel of the court chaired by Haruna Tsammani.
At the resumed proceedings on Saturday, Mr Okutepa called a Channels Television journalist, Lucky Obewo-Isawode, as a witness who mounted the witness box to testify concerning the video clips.
The court directed the playing of the videos.
In the first video clip, INEC chair, Mr Yakubu, a professor, was seen seated with members of political parties and civil society organisations.
Prominent among them was Iyiola Omisore, the National Secretary of the APC.
Mr Yakubu, decked in a brown kaftan and a cap to match, walked into a room and exchanged pleasantries with attendees at the press briefing.
Immediately after he took his seat, Mr Yakubu began to reel out some of the innovative measures the electoral umpire had taken to boost the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process.
“There is no going back on the deployment of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machine,” Mr Yakubu began.
He went on to assure that “There is no going back on the electronic transmission of election results from the polling units in real-time to the INEC IReV Portal.”
Mr Yakubu’s interview also aired on Channels Television – a broadcast station headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria.
In the second video recording, INEC’s national commissioner on Voter Education, Festus Okoye, was seen on Channels Television’s primetime programme, ‘Sunday Politics.’
Mr Okoye, while being interviewed by the show host, Seun Okinbaloye, regretted INEC’s failure to electronically transmit the presidential election results in real-time as it had promised in the build-up to the general elections.
The failure of the electoral commission to promptly upload the results from polling stations during the presidential election across Nigeria forms is one of the issues raised by Mr Obi and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in their separate petitions seeking to overturn Mr Tinubu’s victory.
Tinubu’s video clip evidence
In the final video that was played in court on Saturday, Mr Tinubu, who was a presidential flagbearer of the APC, was seen dressed in a blue flowing gown bearing his signature infinity symbol, addressing journalists at Mr Buhari’s country home, Daura, Katsina State, on 10 July 2022.
“I have chosen Senator Kashim Shettima as my running mate. He is competent and reliable,” Mr Tinubu said in the interview, which aired on Channels Television.
Mr Obi urged the court to nullify Mr Tinubu’s victory over the allegation of double nomination against Mr Shettima.
However, the Supreme Court, in a recent judgement, dismissed a suit filed by the PDP challenging Mr Shettima’s alleged dual nomination as a senatorial candidate of the APC in Borno Central Senatorial District as well as holding the vice presidential ticket of the party in the February polls.
After playing the video recordings of the trio, the court admitted them in evidence despite the respondents’ objections to their admissibility.
The court promised to rule on the respondents’ opposition to the admissibility of the video clips at the end of hearing the suit.
In addition, the court admitted more electoral documents as exhibits from some Local Government Areas of Benue State.
After that, the court adjourned further proceedings until Tuesday, 13 June