Two witnesses of the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in the panel hearing petition against the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday told the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), sitting in Abuja that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) indeed has a server and that results from the presidential poll were transmitted into it.
The two witnesses were part of the six witnesses called by the petitioners to prove their petition against Buhari’s election in the February 23, 2019, general election, wherein Atiku and PDP are calling for the nullification of the election.
One of the witnesses, Ijeoma Obi, an Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) expert, told the tribunal that election results were transmitted from polling units to INEC server.
Obi told the tribunal that he was trained by INEC as a Registration Area Technician and was shortlisted by INEC for the purpose of 2019 Election result transmission.
“I am an ICT expert who transmitted election results to INEC server. I was trained by INEC as a Registration Area Technician for the transmission of election results,” he said.
In his own testimony, the second witness, Adejuyitan Olalekan, admitted transmitting election results to INEC server. He said that the INEC server is automatic and is embedded in the smart card reader.
“I personally transmitted election results to INEC server through the code provided by INEC,” he said and added that, “there was no instruction from INEC to us to allow election manually in case the card reader refuses to function.”
Olalekan, however, said the card reader in his area worked perfectly and he transmitted results to it.
Reacting to a question, the witness said the INEC server is connected to the card reader.
Under cross-examination by counsel to the All Progressive Congress (APC), the third respondent in the petition, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), the witness admitted not serving as Presiding Officer for INEC but was shortlisted by the electoral body.
Adedokun Adeoye, the 4th petitioners’ witness in his testimony also alluded to the fact that election results were transmitted to INEC server.
Adeoye who claimed to be an Assistant Presiding Officer of INEC told the tribunal that he also transmitted election results to the INEC server.
He could not answer the question posed to him on whether, as an assistant Presiding Officer (1) he was authorised to conduct elections and transmit results personally to the server?
He, however, said that the INEC guidelines did not show him anything to that effect and he was unable to give the code number and the server from which the results were transmitted.
Away from the server issue, the 5th petitioners’ witness, one Mohammed Tata, in his own evidence alleged that elections were not conducted in his polling unit.
Tata, an agent of the PDP in the February 23 presidential election said he was pained and unhappy with what he described as a great injustice to the people and country as a whole.
He said he was deployed to cover elections in a polling unit within Jigawa State but unfortunately no election took place in his unit, but a concocted result was announced by INEC.
“I am a true Muslim, I believe in destiny, I am not bordered with who wins the poll, whether APC or PDP, all I want in my country is justice. I am not happy with what happened. There was no election in my area,” he had insisted.
Similarly, the 6th witness Mustapha Bello, also a PDP agent in Jigawa State alleged voter intimidation, harassment amongst others, but under cross-examination, he confirmed that he voted during the poll.
Earlier, the first witness to be called by the petitioners, Buba Galadima adopted his statement on oath in the petition.
Galadima said that he supported Atiku in the 2019 election because he was a better candidate who is educated, God-fearing and capable of providing good governance in the country.
He denied parting ways with Buhari because he was not been favoured by the administration and added that, he withdrew his support from Buhari because the president failed to protect life and property of citizens and did not allow the rule of law to prevail.
Under cross-examination by the APC counsel, Galadima further told the tribunal that he was not a member of the PDP and that his party – Reformed All Progressives Congress (RAPC), had a memorandum of understanding with Atiku and PDP on how to make life bearable for Nigerians, ensure security of life and property and allow the rule of law to prevail.
Apart from the witnesses called by the petitioners at Monday’s proceedings, more documents numbering 6, 806, mainly election result sheets from Kano and Zamfara States were tendered and admitted as exhibits by the tribunal.
The respondents equally indicated their objection to their admissibility.
Among the documents objected to by Buhari’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), is the President’s form CF001 submitted to INEC for the purpose of contesting February 23, presidential election.
The form CF001 contains personal and educational qualification of Buhari as supplied.
The documents form part of the evidence the petitioners seek to prove that Buhari did not possess the requisite academic qualification for the last presidential election.
However, when lead counsel to the petitioners, Dr Levy Uzoukwu (SAN) sought to tender them before the tribunal, the respondents indicated their objections.
However, the respondents did not object to the tendering of the final result of the election signed by professor Yakubu Mahmood which the tribunal admitted as exhibit.
Also tendered and admitted as an exhibit are documents containing a total number of voters in the INEC register and the number of collected Permanent Voters Card (PVC) for the elections.
The petitioners, in addition, tendered six newspapers publications and ten press statements issued by INEC in respect of the election.
Meanwhile, hearing in the petition continues Tuesday with the petitioners calling more from the 400 witnesses lined up to prove their case against the outcome of the February 23 presidential election.