Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 presidential election, has applied to summon the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, to appear before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja. Atiku, who alleges that the election was rigged, also requested the presence of INEC’s Secretary, Dr. Rose Oriarian-Anton, and INEC’s National Commissioner, Mr. Festus Okoye, as witnesses.
Atiku’s lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, informed the court that they intend to obtain subpoenas to compel the INEC officials to appear and provide evidence, along with sensitive electoral documents. The decision to summon the INEC bosses came after the petitioners presented two additional witnesses before the court.
Despite objections from President Bola Tinubu and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the five-member panel, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, allowed five ad-hoc staff of INEC to testify as witnesses. These witnesses revealed that the results of the presidential election were not transmitted electronically. They explained that while the results of the National Assembly elections were successfully transmitted using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) devices, the process failed when they attempted to upload the results of the presidential poll held on the same day. The malfunction of the BVAS devices prevented the real-time transmission of the presidential election results to INEC’s I-Rev portal.
Atiku and the PDP are seeking to present compelling evidence and witnesses to support their claim of electoral irregularities in the 2023 presidential election. By summoning the INEC officials, they aim to shed light on the alleged rigging and present their case before the Presidential Election Petition Court.