By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The cup finally ran over for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu on Wednesday when he was ordered to appear before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal unfailingly by noon on Friday via a subpoena.
The order was the climax of four months of failure by INEC to respond to several requests by the petitioners, PDP and its Presidential candidate for essential documents in the Commission’s custody in defiance of the law making it mandatory to produce the documents on demand.
The Tribunal rebuffed frantic efforts by INEC counsel, Ustaz Usman Yunus, SAN to explain away the continued failure of INEC to do the needful after Atiku’s counsel Dr Chris Uche drew attention of the Tribunal to INEC’s disregard of several repeated requests to provide the documents in spite of acknowledging receipt of the letters.
The documents relate to the petitioner’s case against the Presidential election in Zamfara State as a result of which the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state will accompany Professor Mahmood Yakubu to the Tribunal on Friday.
Issuing the subpoena, the Tribunal Chairman upheld the submissions of Dr Chris Uche demanding the order to compel INEC to obey the law, noting that court orders must not be ignored.
Both INEC and its Chairman had earlier been in a fix over the debunking of initial claims that the Commission had no server for receiving electronically transmitted election results whereas evidence before the Tribunal proved the contrary.
Only last Tuesday, the All Progressive Congress (APC) legal team’s presentation of an edited version of a television interview granted by INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu purporting to rule out deployment of a server, provoked widespread outrage and criticism following exposure of the unedited version of the said interview where Professor Yakubu actually informed that INEC would deploy the server for the 2019 election results.
The APC legal team was accused of attempting to mislead the Tribunal.
The INEC Counsel, Ustaz Yunus Usman (SAN) was the first to make the claim that INEC has no server when he remarked in an out of court interview that INEC was being forcefully linked with having a server.