The Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Committee said on Tuesday that the election-related paperwork for the February 25 presidential election is being examined by Peter Obi’s lawyers, who is running for president as the Labour Party’s nominee.
Only a day after the LP legal team met with Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, he made a commitment to the delegation that the commission would grant access to the materials.
The Monday meeting with INEC chairman came after the LP issued threats to embark on a nationwide protest and picket INEC offices over the alleged failure of INEC to grant them access to poll materials as ordered by the court.
The head of the LP’s legal team, Dr Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), who led 60 lawyers to the meeting with INEC chairman, had urged INEC to urgently make the polls materials available as the team was running against the deadline to file its petition against the outcome of the presidential poll.
“We are here because we have not received any electoral stocks for inspection on behalf of our clients, and as you all know, election petition is time-sensitive. We have 21 days to file a petition on behalf of our clients. Out of that 21 days, we probably have about 10 days to go and up but till now, we have not received any documents,”Uzoukwu had said.
When asked by journalists what would happen if the documents were not made available as promised by INEC, the SAN said, “That will be a national calamity. Not making the documents available will create the impression that INEC is deliberately frustrating us. But listening to the chairman and all assurances, I want to give him or we want to give him the benefit of the doubt that we will get some of them today (Monday).
“At least if we get some of them today, that is indicative that we will get some other documents from tomorrow, and next tomorrow to enable us file this petition.”
When asked on Tuesday if the LP legal team was making progress, the spokesman for Obi-Datti PCC, Yunusa Tanko, told our correspondent that the legal team had been granted access and had started gathering some relevant information from the materials supplied.
He said, “Of course, we are having some level of progress. No matter how the case may be, at least, we have started collecting some documents from INEC, which will help our case. The situation of Nigeria is such that if anybody lies, he will look for another lie to cover it tomorrow. By the third day, he must get another to defend himself. In the process of looking for falsehood to cover up, you will make mistake and the truth will come out. It is a clear-cut decision. Isn’t it then better to come out and say the truth in order to sleep well after that?”
When asked about the duration of the inspection at the INEC office, he disclosed that it would be a continuous exercise.
He said, “If I can use the words of the INEC chairman, he said ‘We will give you a schedule of how we want to completely conduct this particular process.’ It is not a one-off thing. But he promised that he will give us all the support we require for us to prosecute our case. That was exactly his words that I just used.
“At this particular point, the most important thing is for us to start with something. Other supporting documents can be coming in as we continue to conduct our investigation so that we don’t miss the timeline of having the case in court in the first place. Already, we have lost a lot of time as regards the issue of getting the documents that we required. Ordinarily, we ought to go and get all the information from the state chapters to know exactly the quantum of damage done to the minds of the Nigerian people. In truth, they have destroyed the minds of Nigerian youths.”