Election Tribunal: Justices, Lawyers Watch Obi’s Video On INEC Chairman’s Position On BVAS

Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) on Saturday, watched a video recording by Channels Television showing the Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, Yakubu Mahmood, assuring Nigerians that there would be “no going back” on using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines to accredit voters and transmit scanned polling unit results in real time.

The TV station was subpoenaed to produce the live interviews granted by Mahmood and the electoral umpire’s spokesperson, Festus Okoye, regarding their assurance about the functionality of the BVAS for the 2023 election.

Counsel to INEC, President Bola Tinubu, Kashim Shettima and the All Progressives Congress, raised objections against the witness and the evidence sought to be admitted.

Ruling on their objections was, however, reserved till the final judgment, as the court gave the go ahead for the video clips to be played in open court.

Jubril Okutepa (SAN) who took charge of proceedings for the petitioners, sought leave of court to play videos regarding the election.

The first video that was played was when the INEC Chairman held a meeting with political party leaders and other stakeholders, saying “there is no going back on the deployment of BVAS for voter accreditation and real-time transmission of results on election day.”

The next was the live interview Channels Television had with Festus Okoye where he admitted that there were challenges during the presidential election.

He was seen saying the Commission issued a statement relating to the inability of presiding officers to upload results from BVAS to IRev, adding there were technical glitches.

Okoye added that those who had the knowledge about the technical glitches had made their own explanation to the Commission.

He added that the four leading political parties deployed over 100,000 party agents to the polling units and must have been given duplicate copies of the polling unit results sheet.

The other video that was played was when Tinubu announced Shettima as his running mate.

After the video evidence was played, INEC counsel, Oluwakemi Pineiro (SAN), said he had no question for the witness.

Counsel to Tinubu, Akin Olujimi (SAN), asked the journalist if the cameramen that recorded the video including the INEC Chairman were still alive.

The witness responded in the affirmative.

The court subsequently discharged the journalist from the testimony dock.

After the video exercise, Obi’s lawyer, Peter Afuba (SAN), then tendered Certified True Copies of more electoral documents from Benue State (EC40GBU).

The documents were objected to by the respondents, but the court admitted them as evidence.