The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) yesterday struck out an application filed by the Labour Party (LP) and its candidate, Peter Obi, which sought answers from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over its claim that ‘technological glitches’ prevented electronic transmission of results of the February 25, presidential election.
In the said interrogatories, the petitioners had among other things wanted the electoral body to disclose who restored the alleged “technical glitches” among others.
However, ruling on the application, the Chairman of five-member panel, Justice Haruna Tsammani, said for such motion to be granted outside pre-hearing session, the petitioners have to satisfy the condition precedent laid down by law.
The judge equally held that for a motion to be moved or heard after its pre-hearing session, the petitioner must place before it the “extreme circumstances” that made him to file the application.
Justice Tsammani added that the application has to be filed within the timeline stipulated for the filing of such application.
The judge held that it was a fact that the motion of the petitioners was served after it had concluded it’s pre-hearing session on May 22.
“This court is bound by record on proceedings. The law is established that it is the duty of a party to call the attention of the court over the pendency of an application,” Justice Tsammani said.
He said it was clearly wrong for the petitioners’ lawyers to blame the court on the development when they filed their applications after the pre-hearing session and failed to bring it up at the time.
“Accordingly, this application fails and is accordingly struck out,” the judge said in a unanimous ruling.
The interrogatories requested the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide answers to 12 questions as to the following:*What is the date of the testing for functionality as well as for stress and load balancing carried out on the improved system before its final deployment for the 2023 general election?
*What is the name/details of the person(s) that carried out the test on the system referred to in one above?
*Who created/deployed the four applications patches/upgrades to fix the HTTP 500 error that prevented the e-transmission of the results of the presidential election on February 25, 2023?
*What are the details of the four applications patches/upgrades created/deployed to fix the HTTP 500 error?
*What was the exact time of the occurrence of the technical glitch, which prevented the e-transmission of the results of the presidential election on February 25, 2023?
*What are the details of the four patches/upgrades created/deployed to fix the HTTP 500 error referred to in paragraph 55 (vii) and 90 (x) of the 1st respondent’s (INEC’s) reply to the petition?
*What time were the technological glitches fixed and or repaired?*Were there any technical glitch after the successful upload of the results of the presidential election at 8:55pm on February 25, 2023?
*What percentage of the result of the presidential election was uploaded on the IReV on February 25, 2023?
*What percentage of the results of the presidential election was uploaded on the IReV as at the time of the declaration of the result of the presidential election on March 1, 2023?
*Do you have documents/printouts to back your answers above; and if any, can they be produced to this court?
*If the presidential election was conducted concurrently with the National Assembly election on the same day and at same time, using the same technological devices, why were there glitches only with respect to the presidential election?