By Victor E
The Labour Party (LP) and its candidate, Peter Obi, has told the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) how the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), deliberately subverted the will of Nigerians by dishonestly manipulating the February 25 presidential election in favour of President Bola Tinubu and his All Progressives Congress (APC).
The petitioners in their final written address argued that the Commission has been unable to provide evidence in court and prove ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ how it came to the conclusion that APC and Tinubu won.
It, therefore, urged the court not to close its eyes to constitutional violations that characterised the disputed election but to act in the interest of justice by declaring the purported return of Tinubu and APC as winners invalid and a nullity.
In their joint final address filed on July 23, the petitioners accused INEC of failing to comply with the requirement of the law by refusing to provide them with certified copies of the ‘top copies (Electoral operations’ copies’) of the Forms EC8A in the polling unit under paragraph 39 of the regulations and guidelines.
Obi equally urged the court to hold that going by the unchallenged evidence he presented that he won in 13 States including Rivers, Benue and the FCT, he was winner of the election.
While insisting that the election was manipulated in favour of President Tinubu, the petitioners submitted that INEC mischievously downloaded 18,088 blurred polling units results comprising blank A4 papers and photographs of unknown persons in place of the presidential results, which were duly certified by the Commission and handed over to them.
The said blurred copies of the polling unit results were obtained from 168 local government areas in 14 states of the federation including Adamawa; Ogun, Ekiti; Rivers; Akwa Ibom; Niger; Edo; Bauchi; Bayelsa; Gombe; Kaduna; Benue; Cross Rivers and Lagos respectively.
“On June 15, the petitioners through the PW4 tendered 18,088 blurred polling units results downloaded from IReV Portal. The blurred results contained in four boxes were admitted in evidence as exhibit PCE1-PCEA. The petitioners applied to the 1st respondent (INEC) for the polling unit results uploaded on the IReV.
“ Some of them were issued to the petitioners. The petitioners were shocked when they found out that thousands of them were blurred and others were blank A4 papers. The documents were mischievously certified as true copies of results! Some photographs were equally certified as results. Results that were not polling unit results and other extraneous documents were uploaded in place of results.
“The INEC officials, with respect who issued and certified blank pages of A4 papers and pictures of unknown persons as results must have a bizarre sense of humour!”
Obi further told the court to hold that the non-compliance with the relevant laws by INEC during the conduct of the election not only substantially but grieviously affected the result of the election.
He stated that “a significant highlight of the expert data analysis produced by PW4 is that upon a proper and accurate computation of the result of the presidential election in Rivers and Benue states, using the Forms EC8As uploaded on the IRev, and the certified copies of the Forms EC8As given by INEC to the petitioners is that the petitioner’s won the presidential election held in Rivers and Benue states.
“By this unchallenged development, the number of states wherein the petitioners won the election will now be 13 states and the FCT, whilst the 2nd to 4th respondents will thereby have their number of states allegedly announced for them by the 1st responded reduced by two states.
“Your Lordship are respectfully urged to uphold the above submissions and determine that the non-compliance by the 1st respondent in the conduct of the presidential election, substantially affected the result of the election.
“Your Lordship may rightly, in the interest of justice, declare the purported return of the 2nd and 3rd respondents as winners of the presidential election invalid and accordingly nullify the presidential election.”
Lead counsel to the petitioners, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, who filed the document said; “Apart from the blatant refusal to comply with the mandatory requirements of the law, the certified copies of the results of the election given to the petitioners by INEC, manifestly show that the purported Forms EC8As in several polling units, were affected by mutilations, cancellations, alterations and and outright swapping of votes in favour of president Tinubu and the APC and against the petitioners.”
The senior lawyer noted that “the only excuse invented by the respondents in their reply to the petition was that the refusal to comply with specific requirement of the law to upload/transmit the results of the election using the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System(BVAS) from the polling units to the IReV was the occurrences of the alleged technological glitches on the day of the election.
They drew the attention of the court to the fact that “though the presidential election was conducted same time, on the same day, at the same respective polling units with the National Assembly elections, the result of the National Assembly elections were successfully uploaded/transmitted from the BVAS to the IReV portal.
“Strangely, only the result of the presidential election equally held in the same polling units, using the same infrastructure, could not, according to the INEC, as required by law, be uploaded/transmitted from the polling units into the IReV portal.”
On the issue of the controversial 25 percent votes in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), Obi and his LP urged to court to hold that section 134 (2) (b) of the Constitution is “clearly to the effect that a candidate to be declared a winner of the presidential election, must secure at least one-quarter (25%) of votes cast in two-thirds of the entire 36 states. Again, that candidate must also secure not less than 25 per cent of the votes cast at the FCT, Abuja.
They contended that “the population of the winning candidate must extend not only to an appreaciable geographical spread, but also to the FCT being the capital city and melting pot for all Nigerians and which would truely reflect the will of all Nigerians, so that the deliberate additional constitutional requirement of 25% votes in the FCT must not be redundant.”
The petitioners equally urged the court to hold that the order of by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern division in case No: 4483 forfeiture for the funds of $460:000 in account 263226700 held by First Heritage Bank in the name of Bola Tinubu represent proceeds of narcotics trafficking, constitutes a fine, and it is in respect of an offence involving dishonest or fraud by a court.