Abuja – As proceedings at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal progress, seven witnesses called by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, on Thursday narrated how the Independent National Electoral Commission falsified figures to give President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress Njokuvictory in the February 23 general elections.
The witnesses upon examination at various times told the Justice Mohammed Garba led tribunal that wrong scores were inputed for Buhari in Kaduna and Borno States.
The witnesses stated that the action of INEC officials prompted some of them to refuse to sign the result sheets at the polling units, wards, Local Government and State levels.
In addition, the witnesses told the tribunal that in spite of restriction order on the election day people were transported from one place to another unchallenged to vote for the APC.
They stated that their protest and complaints lodged with security agents were ignored, making them to realise that the security agents have been compromised.
The witnesses are Major Yahaya Sikko, Jafari Abas Ibrahim, Dr Abdulrahman Usman, Nicholas Msheila, John Makama, Khalid Yelwa Kugo and Adam Ali Sanni.
In his evidence in chief on the alleged election malpractices in Kaduna State, Sikko told the tribunal that wrong figures were recorded for Buhari and APC making him to refuse to sign the result sheet as required by law.
He insisted that results were doctored by APC agents with the full backing of security personnel.
Responding to a question from Buhari’s lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun SAN, the witness said he had protested against the irregularities at the collation centre but was ignored.
However, he admitted that accreditation was done by the smart card reader.
In his own evidence, Jafaru Abas Ibrahim, a senior lawyer informed the tribunal that strange people were transported to certain areas where they cast votes for APC in spite of the presence of security personnel.
The witness said that results were not correctly transmitted to form EC8C.
Answering a question from Buhari’s counsel, Ibrahim admitted that he signed the result sheets but that his signature could not validate the election malpractices.
He further said that he made complains to INEC Returning Officer but nothing was done to correct the anomaly especially the reduction of votes of the petitioners.
Nicholas Msheila, the Borno State collation Officer for the petitioners informed the tribunal that he rejected most results in the 27 Local Government Areas in the state because they were fraudulent.
Dr Abdulraman Usman in his own testimony alleged that form EC8A was not made available to agents of the petitioners as required by law and thereby making him not to sign form EC8C being the result for Kaduna North Local Government because of his objection to the wrongful entries made for the APC.
Another witness from Bauchi State, Yau Yusuf, in attesting to claim of rigging, harassment and intimidation of voters, said election results were torn by a particular agent of the APC in the presence of INEC officials at INEC headquarters and yet nothing was done.
He claimed that the results announced by INEC were a reproduced copy, adding that the police took the torn copy with a promise to prosecute the perpetrator.
Also testifying, Adams Ali Sanni also admitted that he did not sign results sheets as agents of the petitioners because results were altered in his presence while votes cast for Atiku and PDP were reduced also in his presence.
He alleged that apart from unlawful cancellation of results, PDP agents were chased away by thugs of the APC to allow free falsification of results in favour of Buhari.
Meanwhile, the collation agent for the Peoples Democratic Party in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State, Bukar Bukar Petrol, testified that the APC took advantage of the bombings that occurred in Damboa town during the February 23, 2019 election, to rig the presidential Poll in favour of Buhari.
Under cross-examination by respondents’ lawyers, Petrol said because of the security situation of Boko Haram insurgency in Borno State, the 100 polling units in the 10 wards of Damboa Local Government Area were cited on the premises of the Local Government Secretariat in Damboa town.
He said the distribution of sensitive electoral materials in the LG area which should have started by 4:00 a.m. was deliberately delayed by INEC’s officials till 8:00 a.m.
He said voting commenced at some few minutes past 10:00 a.m.
He said in the course of the voting, there were bombings in the area which made everybody run to safety.
Petrol said by the time they returned to the venue of the election, the Civilian Joint Task Force, had taken over the election and the APC allegedly took advantage of the situation to rig.
“When the explosions occurred, everybody ran away. After the explosions, the Civilian JTF took over the election and the 3rd respondent (APC) took advantage of the situation to rig the election” he narrated.
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