The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has accused the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, and the opposition party of unwillingness to pay the required fees for the certification of the election documents they requested to prosecute their petition before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
According to INEC’s lead lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), the head of the Labour Party’s legal team, Dr Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), wrote in a letter that his clients were not ready to pay the N1.5million requested for the certification of the documents in relation to Sokoto State.
INEC said their unwillingness to pay the required fees was responsible for the delay in the release of the remaining documents in relation to the presidential election in Sokoto and Rivers States.
Mahmoud told the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) at the resumed hearing of the petition by Obi and LP that his client (INEC) was willing and ready to release the requested documents, once the stipulated fees were paid.
He also accused the Labour Party team of walking out of a meeting scheduled by parties to sort out documents to be tendered as exhibits in the case.
Earlier, Uzoukwu told the court that INEC was frustrating his clients’ access to the election documents required as exhibits to prosecute their case before the Court.
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He said he wrote five letters, visited INEC headquarters and even met with INEC Chairman on the issue, to no avail. He prayed the court to compel INEC to make the documents, including Form EC8A available to the petitioners.
He also denied that the petitioners’ team walked out of the meeting as claimed by the INEC lawyer.
Lawyers to the President-elect and Vice President-elect, Woke Olanipekun (SAN) and Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) for the All Progressives Congress (APC) noted that from Mahmoud’s account, it was obvious that the delay in the release of the remaining documents was because of the petitioners’ failure to pay the required fees.
The court has adjourned further pre-hearing sessions in the petition till Friday.
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