PEPC Strikes Out Peter Obi’s Application to Interrogate INEC on Election Technology

The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja delivered a ruling on Saturday, dismissing an application filed by Mr. Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party (LP). Obi had sought permission to interrogate the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) regarding the technology utilized during the general elections. He is currently contesting the outcome of the presidential election held on February 25. In his application, Obi urged the court to compel INEC to respond to a series of 12 crucial questions outlined in an interrogatory submitted on May 22.

One of Obi’s primary requests was for INEC to disclose the date on which it conducted a functionality test on the alleged improved technological system employed during the elections. Additionally, he demanded the names and relevant details of the individuals responsible for conducting the said test.

He equally urged the court to compel INEC to supply its answers to the following questions; “Who created/deployed the four (4) Applications Patches/Updates to fix the HTTP 500 error that prevented the e-transmission of the results of the Presidential election on 25th February 2023?

“What was the exact time of the occurrence of the technical glitch which prevented the e-transmission of the result of the Presidential election on 25th February 2023?

“What time were the technological glitches fixed and or repaired?

“What percentage of the result of the Presidential election was uploaded on the I-Rev on 25th February 2023?

“What percentage of the result of the Presidential election was uploaded on the I-Rev as at the time of the declaration of the Result of the Presidential election on 1st March 2023?

“If the Presidential Election was conducted concurrently with the National Assembly Elections on the same day and at the same time using the same technological devices, why were there glitches only with respect to the Presidential Election?,” Obi and his party added.

They maintained that answers the Commission would provide to the questions, would be very vital to the determination of the petition they filed to challenge the declaration of President Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as the winner of the presidential election.

However, all Respondents in the matter urged the court to dismiss the application for want of competence.

Cited as 1st to 4th Respondents in the petition, are; the INEC, the President Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and the APC.

Meanwhile, in a unanimous decision on Saturday, Justice Haruna Tsammani-led’s five-member panel struck out the application on the premise that it was filed outside the pre-hearing period.

Meanwhile, the panel gave Obi and the LP the nod to play in the open court, two video recordings he tendered in evidence.

While in the first video, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yukubu, while addressing a press conference before the general elections, assured that the results of the election would be electronically transmitted with electorates being able to view the results in real-time.

In the second video clip, an INEC National Commissioner, Mr Festus Okoye, equally assured that the results would also be transmitted in real-time with the I-Rev portal made accessible to citizens.

Channels Television was subpoenaed to produce the two video recordings, which the court admitted in evidence and marked as Exhibits.