Labour Party and Peter Obi Accuse INEC of Hindering Presidential Election Petition Hearing
The Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, have raised allegations against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), claiming that the commission is intentionally impeding the progress of their petition before the presidential election court.
Obi and the LP are contesting the outcome of the presidential election that took place on February 25, which resulted in Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) being declared Nigeria’s President.
During the recent hearing of the petition on Monday, Jibrin Okutepa, counsel for the petitioners and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), asserted that INEC has withheld crucial documents required for the prosecution of their case. Okutepa stated that they had written letters to INEC, formally requesting the release of these documents, and that the commission had acknowledged receipt of the letters. However, he alleged that INEC refused to accept service of the subpoenas issued to them.
Abubakar Mahmoud, the counsel representing INEC, countered the claim, asserting that the allegations made against the commission were unfounded. Mahmoud stated that he had received only one letter from the lead counsel for the petitioners, Livy Uzoukwu, on May 15, and that he promptly responded to it on the same day. He further maintained that Okutepa had never approached him to discuss the issues raised.
However, Uzoukwu refuted the assertion that he received a response to his letter from INEC.
Uzoukwu urged the court to issue an order compelling INEC to comply with the subpoena and produce the requested documents.
As tensions escalated, the panel of justices appealed for calm, emphasizing the importance of cooperation to uncover the truth regarding the February 25 presidential election.
After hearing arguments from both parties, Justice Haruna Tsammani, the presiding judge, adjourned further hearings until June 20, 2023.