Atiku vs Buhari: We transmitted election results electronically – INEC officers

A Petitioners’ Witness 2 in the ongoing Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja, Peter Uzioma Obi, yesterday, confirmed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) transmitted the result of the February 23 presidential election electronically.
Obi, however, told the tribunal that it would be wrong to say the results of the presidential election were not transmitted electronically.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the said election, Atiku Abubakar, and his party are challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the election.
The witness, who told the tribunal that he functioned as Registration Area Technician at a ward level in Rivers State during the election, stated that INEC trained him and others to transmit the results of the poll.
Obi, who earlier adopted his witness statement on oath which he deposed to on April 26, as his evidence-in-chief, said this while fielding questions from INEC’s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN), under cross-examination.
“You are not supposed to transmit results because you are not a presiding officer,” Usman asked.
Responding, Obi said: “You are wrong sir. INEC trained us to transmit results. I was not a presiding officer. I was not a polling agent. I was a registration area technician appointed by INEC. I was trained by INEC.”
Being cross-examined by Buhari’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Obi said he was not aware of the guidelines used by the INEC for the presidential election but, however, noted that there was a specific guidelines booklet issued for his roles as a Registered Area Technician (RATECH).
According to him, “I was a RATECH in charge of the use of card reader.”
Obi added that he was not aware of Olanipekun’s claim that there was no designation in the INEC’s guidelines as Registration Area Technician.
He stressed that he operated at the ward level with the Local Government Technician and the State Technician as his superiors.
He added that he was not stationed at any polling unit during the election, but visited the ones where his attention was needed.
He said that he visited seven polling units in the course of the election.
Under cross-examination by APC’s counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Obi said that the lawyer was not entirely correct to say that it was the duty of the Presiding Officer “to do accreditation, verification authentication, and collation at the Poling Units.”
“You are not entirely correct sir, because we were told at the training that the Assistant Polling Officer 1 was in charge of accreditation.
“I did not serve as APO1 and I did not serve as the Presiding Officer,” he stated.
He said he did not act on his own, contrary to Fagbemi’s suggestion.
“I have a letter to show that I was shortlisted.”
Similarly, Adejuyitan Olanikan, another acclaimed Registered Area Technician employed by INEC, said results were transmitted to the commission’s server, but failed to state how that was done.
Meanwhile, Petitioners’ Witness 5, Mohammed Tata, who served as an agent of PDP in Jigawa State, had alleged before the tribunal that he was compelled under duress to sign result of the presidential election in his polling unit.
The witness equally told the tribunal that he was threatened to either sign a copy of the result or have his name removed as a beneficiary in the N-Power scheme.
Under cross-examination by INEC counsel, Usman, Tata said: “I was harassed and intimidated to sign the result sheet under duress. I was told that if I refuse to sign, my name will be removed from the N-Power Programme.”
When asked if he was dissatisfied that President Buhari and the APC scored over 700 votes in his polling unit, the witness said: “There was no score because there was no election.
“I am a Muslim. I believe in destiny and what God decides will happen. Whether PDP wins or the APC, I don’t have a problem with that. All I want is that I need justice in my country.
“I don’t care whether my party won or lost, but I am not happy about what happened.”
When asked how many parties participated in the election in his polling unit, Tata said: “I don’t know because there was no election.”
Asked if he was given a copy of the result, he said: “No, I was not given because there was no election.
“I followed due process by reporting how I was harassed to sign the result, but the culprits were neither arrested nor prosecuted.”
When APC’s counsel, Fagbemi, asked why he did not mention names of those that harassed him in his statement on oath, the witness said it was “for security reasons.”
“I am still working with the N-Power because I signed the result. It is because I did what they wanted me to do,” Tata stated.
Earlier, the Petitioners’ Witness 1, Buba Galadima, who is a former ally of Buhari, said he voted in his polling unit and, thereafter, went to monitor the election across the country from the PDP situation room in Abuja.
He said the election was marred by malpractices to favour the second respondent.
He also said Buhari was obliged to make public his West African Examination Council result, adding that he (Buhari) failed to annex the document on his nomination form.
Galadima told the tribunal that he fell out with the President because of injustice in his administration and not because he was not appointed a minister.
In addition to injustice, Galadima said that lack of inclusiveness and failure of the administration to secure Nigeria, also added to why he left the camp of the President.
Galadima made the submissions under cross-examination, after he had adopted his statement on oath.
Olanipekun to Galadima: “You fell out with the 2nd respondent (Buhari) because he did not make you a minister in 2015.
Galadima responded: “No. You should know that I fought all the previous governments since 1999 because of injustice. We made good promises to Nigerians, including justice, inclusiveness, and to secure the country, which he has failed to do. It has always been part of my characteristics to fight injustice. I supported Buhari in the 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 election cycles until the 2019 election.”
Galadima, however, explained that he stopped supporting him when issues around his qualification were raised.
“I wanted to support an educated candidate who can provide good governance for the country,” he said.
However, while being cross-examined by Fagbemi, Galadima said that he was aware that there is no registered party called the Reformed APC, but maintained that he was still the chairman of the group.
Meanwhile, he said he remained a member of the APC since he had not been sacked.
“I am still a member of APC. I have not been sacked. We are in court. I don’t want to be subjudice.
“I’m not a member of PDP, but we have a memorandum of understanding with the PDP to produce God-fearing, good and educated leader,” he stated.
Much earlier in the day, Buhari had objected to the admission of his form CF001 which contained his personal data submitted to INEC, for the February 23 Presidential election.
Olanipekun, while objecting to the admission of the form on behalf of the President, however, said that his reason would be made public at the address stage.
The petitioners had tendered the form as part of efforts to establish their petition against Buhari on his qualification for the last presidential election.
Apart from the form, the petitioners also tendered the final result of the election signed by Professor Yakubu Mahmood, which the tribunal admitted as exhibit.
Also tendered and admitted as exhibit are documents containing total number of voters in the INEC register and the number of collected permanent voters’ cards for the elections.
Atiku’s lead counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), also tendered six newspaper publications and 10 press statements issued by INEC in respect of the election.
About 6,806 mainly election result sheets from Kano and Zamfara states were tendered and admitted by the tribunal.
So far, the petitioners have been able to call six witnesses.
Hearing in the petition continues today.

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