Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari’s legal team has produced a television VCD player to show a video clip to the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja at the Tuesday’s proceedings which have just started.
The team’s bid to use the equipment provided by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Monday, was rebuffed by the petitioners.
The video clip proposed to be shown to the five-man tribunal led by Justice Mohammed Garba is intended to counter the four shown by the petitioners on Monday.
The video clips were about the controversial issue of electronic transmission of results of the last presidential election.
Atiku and PDP are by their petition challenging the victory of Buhari and his All Progressives Congress at the February 23, 2019 poll.
Following the petitioners’ refusal to allow Buhari to use their equipment on Monday, the President’s lawyer, Alex Izinyon (SAN), sought an adjournment till Tuesday (today) to enable his team to produce theirs.
Ahead of the proceedings, technicians working for the President’s team had set up the TV in anticipation of the arrival of the five Justices on the panel of the tribunal.
The four video clips played at the Monday’s proceedings included an interview which a Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini, granted on Sunday Politics programme of Channels Television.
Igini said in the interview the results of the 2019 general elections would be electronically transmitted to the commission’s server.
Another one showed Army officials, on Channels TV, denying Buhari’s claim that his West African School Certificate was with the Army.
The third one showed INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Channels TV, meeting with members of Computer Professionals and Practitioners in Nigeria, where he expressed hope that the results of the 2019 general elections would be electronically transmitted.
Yakubu was seen saying in the clip that the INEC was ready to partner with the computer professionals in the deployment of Information Technology Communication for the 2019 general elections as might be allowed “within the law”.
The fourth video clip of AFEX Nigeria training of INEC ad-hoc staff on electronic transmission of results of the election.
Under cross-examination by INEC’s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN), Atiku’s media Adviser, Mr. Segun Showunmi, through whom the petitioners tendered 48 VCDs, on Monday, confirmed that the video clips were recorded before the February 23, 2019 poll.
He confirmed that Igini was not the spokesperson for INEC.
Showunmi was also asked if he was aware of an interview granted Channels Television by INEC chairman on February 8, 2019, when the INEC boss was said to have declared that electronic transmission of results would not be used for the 2019 general elections.
“In the course of your duty as the Media Adviser to the 1st petitioner, you watched the interview of the INEC Chairman, particularly on Channels Television.
“On February 8, 2019, the INEC chairman said on Channels gave reasons electronic transmission of results of the elections would not be possible. Are you are aware?”
Responding Showunmi said, “Rather I listened to him when he said it was possible.”
Asked if he was aware of February 6, 2019 press statement by INEC, Showunmi said he would possibly have the statement but that it was not available with him at the moment.
While Buhari’s lawyer, Alex Izinyon (SAN), was taking his turn to cross-examine the witness, Showunmi confirmed that his job as Atiku’s Media Adviser entailed downloading video clips of INEC chairman’s interview.
At that point, Izinyon brought out a video CD, which he sought permission to play to the tribunal with the television and video player earlier used by the petitioners.