On Thursday night, the Labour Party and Peter Obi, its presidential candidate in the February 25 election, asked the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja for permission to question the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The LP and Obi are requesting information from INEC about the information and communication technology expertise they utilized to conduct the poll, among other things.
The INEC’s announcement that Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress won the poll is being contested by the LP and Obi.
Obi presented 12 questions to be sent to INEC in two different motions argued by their attorney, Patrick Ikweto (SAN), in an effort to support their suit that questioned the validity of the election.
The petitioners averred that the interrogatory application if acceded to, would assist them in solidifying their claims that the conduct of the election was flawed.
However, counsel for INEC, Kemi Pinhero (SAN), objected to the move, on the grounds that the application was brought outside the time specified and allowed by law.
He contended that moving the application outside the pre-hearing session had robbed the court of jurisdiction to hear it.
Also, both the counsel for Tinubu, Akin Olujimi (SAN) and counsel for the APC, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), opposed the request.
The presiding Justice, Haruna Tsammani, reserved the ruling on the interrogatory applications by Obi and his party.
He also adjourned further hearing in the petition till Friday (today).
In the meantime, amid intense opposition from the respondents, the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday called their first subpoenaed witness at the Presidential Election Petition Court.
Friday Egwuma, an INEC ad hoc employee, testified before the court that he worked as the presiding officer at Polling Unit 17 in Aba North, Abia State.
When transferring the captured presidential results to the INEC Results Viewing Portal, Egwuma claimed to have encountered technical difficulties in his testimony to the court.
He said that after being recorded on the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, the results could not be electronically communicated in real-time.
During his cross-examination by INEC’s attorney, A.B. Mahmoud (SAN), Egwuama provided the testimony.
He pointed out that the difficulty he encountered was only in relation to the presidential results as other results pertaining to the senatorial and House of Representatives elections were electronically transmitted to the portal seamlessly.
He, however, noted that there was an option to use an offline mode in such a situation.
Earlier on, before the witness testified the respondents had opposed the admissibility of his deposition.
The court reserved ruling on the objection until final judgment.