A forensic analysis of the February 25 presidential election, prepared by a statistician, was Wednesday admitted in evidence against the purported victory of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the election petitions tribunal sitting in Abuja.
The admission was, however, not without objections by Tinubu, All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The forensic analysis was prepared and tendered in evidence by a star witness in the petition filed by the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Led in evidence by the Atiku defence counsel, the star witness, Samuel Oduntan, a professional statistician, presented a forensic analysis of INEC election data to the tribunal.
Though the Tinubu, APC and INEC legal teams objected to the tendering of the forensic report, the tribunal admitted it in evidence.
The forensic expert was led in evidence by Atiku’s lead counsel for the day. Eyitayo Jegede, SAN but had his cross-examination adjourned till Thursday, as agreed by the defence teams.
Meanwhile, the Peter Obi and Labour Party (LP) legal teams were accused of deliberately delaying proceedings of the tribunal with excuses that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakub Mahmood, was evading Summons.
The allegation, which was made by the Commission’s defence counsel, Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, after Obi’s lead counsel, Livy Uzoukwu, SAN, had asked for a short adjournment to enable him try once more to serve the Summons on the INEC boss.
The request irked Pinhenro, who accused Uzoukwu of nonchalance in the prosecution of his case, stating that a similar summon by PDP was successfully served on the INEC chairman.
The Obi and LP.legal.team had successfully convinced the tribunal to subpoena the INEC chairman to furnish the tribunal with some documents vital to the prosecution of the Obi and LP case.
However, Uzoukwu reported that the INEC chairman had been deliberately avoiding service of the subpoena by becoming an artful dodger.
Uzoukwu made the report after LP and Obi had tendered I-REV reports and results from seven states and their local government areas.
Labour Party and Peter Obi then told the court that they had wished to conclude tendering of documents but were constrained by the refusal of the INEC chairman to receive the subpoena directing him to produce critical documents they needed to submit as part of the trial.
Disagreeing with Uzoukwu, Pinheiro argued that a similar subpoena was served on the INEC chairman by the PDP, and it was received without any report of evasion of service.
He further said that it has become a signature tactic of making INEC the “whipping boy” over the Labour Party’s inability to follow through with their case, reminding that the petitioners have only called two out of the 50 witnesses they had proposed to call, with barely over a week left for them to close their case.
It took the intervention of the presiding judge, Justice Haruna Tsammani, to calm the situation, urging the senior lawyers to show respect to the court as they have consistently been hitting directly at each other.
Obi’s case was subsequently adjourned till Thursday, June 15, for continuation.