Updated: February 25, 2021
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof Mahmood Yakubu on Thursday failed to show up at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, holding at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
Yakubu was on Wednesday ordered by the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to appear before it unfailingly on Thursday July 18, by 12 noon.
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The INEC Chairman was to appear along with the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Zamfara State, having been subpoenaed by the Tribunal to present some documents used in the conduct of the February 23 presidential election.
However at about 11.50am on Thursday morning when the Tribunal stood down the Peoples Democratic Movement’s (PDM’s) proceedings to prepare ruling in an application, neither Yakubu nor the Zamfara REC were in court.
Counsel to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, Chief Chris Uche, SAN in their separate petitions against President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the presidential poll, drew the court’s attention to the directive made on Wednesday regarding the subpoena order on the INEC boss.
“Is the chairman here now?” Justice Garba asked counsel to INEC, Yunus Usman, SAN in response to Uche’s, SAN request.
Usman however assured the tribunal that they were working round the clock and that before 12 noon they will comply with the court’s order.
At the end of proceedings in the PDM’s petition, Uche, SAN again reminded the Tribunal that the INEC boss was yet to appear in court.
Responding, Usman told the Tribunal that the order of the court was to the “effect that documents should be produced, not that any person should appear before the tribunal”.
Usman further told Justice Garba that the order of the Tribunal has been fully complied with the tendering of the said subpoenaed documents.
The documents which were brought to court were accompanied by a written letter to that effect to the chairman of the Tribunal.
Uche while commending Usman for the efforts, however requested for a copy of the letter to enable him ascertain if the documents were complete and same as the ones requested for.
Justice Garba, had on Wednesday, issued the order following complaints by Atiku Abubakar that his petition against the election of Muhammadu Buhari was been sabotaged by the INEC Chief following his refusal to appear before the Tribunal to tender some unnamed documents as subpoenaed.
Meanwhile, hearing in the petition continues on Friday.