In response to a summons served on him, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, presented a document containing President Bola Tinubu’s age on Thursday before the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, which was sitting in Abuja.
President Tinubu submitted the Form EC9, an affidavit of personal information, to the INEC in order to support his eligibility to run for office in 2023.
A former Vice President and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who is challenging the outcome of the presidential election that held on February 25, had in an application he filed through his legal team, persuaded the court to summon the INEC boss to among other exhibits he requested for, produce the document containing Tinubu’s bio-data.
Atiku, in a joint petition he filed with his party, insisted that President Tinubu had “demonstrated inconsistency as to his actual date of birth, secondary schools he attended (Government College Ibadan); his State of origin, gender, actual name; certificates evidencing Universities attended (Chicago State University).”
According to the petitioners, “The purported degree Certificate of the 2nd Respondent allegedly acquired at the Chicago State University did not belong to him but to a female (F) described as “F” in the Certificate bearing the name Bola Tinubu.
“The 2nd Respondent did not disclose to the 1st Respondent (INEC) his voluntary acquisition of the citizenship of Republic of Guinea with Guinean Passport No. D00001551, in addition to his Nigerian citizenship. The 2nd Respondent is hereby given notice to produce the original copies of his said two passports,” they added.
Sequel to an application by the petitioners, the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led five-member panel of the court, on May 26, issued a subpoena for the INEC Chairman to produce 11 sets of exhibits.
At the resumed proceedings in the case on Thursday, though Prof. Yakubu was not physically present in court, he sent a senior official of the Commission to tender four of the requested exhibits.
His representative, Mrs. Moronkeji Tairu told the court that she is a Deputy Director, Certification & Complaints, Legal Drafting and Clearance Department at the INEC headquarters in Abuja.
Specifically, Mrs. Tairu, who mounted the witness box, told the court that she brought Forms EC8D series, which were results of the presidential election from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
The second exhibit she tendered before the court was a Form EC8D(A), which was the final declaration of result of the presidential election by INEC.
Prof. Yakubu’s representative further tendered reports of extracts from the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, machines in respect of Rivers State, as well as certified copies of accreditation data from the BVAS, relating to the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.
Lastly, the witness tendered the certified true copy of the Form EC9 that President Tinubu submitted to INEC and it was admitted in evidence and marked as Exhibit PAJ 40.
Mrs. Tairu told the court that owing to the bulky nature of some of the requested documents, the Commission extracted 10 copies from each state and packaged the remaining details in flash drives she also handed to the panel.
Meantime, President Tinubu, through his team of lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, opposed the admissibility of all the documents in evidence.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, through its legal team led by Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, equally raised its objection against all the exhibits that were tendered by the representative of the INEC chairman.
The Respondents said they would in their final written address, adduce reasons behind their objections.
On its part, INEC, through its lead counsel, Mr. Abubakar Mahmood, SAN, said though it was not opposed to the admissibility of the documents which it described as irrelevant to the case before the court, it, however, contended that the petitioners did not pay the necessary fees.
Responding, the petitioners’ lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, told the court that contrary to the position of INEC’s lawyer, his clients, pain N6.7million for the certification of all the documents they requested from INEC.
Meanwhile, the panel adjourned further hearing on the petition till Friday.