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Friday, 09 June 2023 14:54

TRIBUNAL: More Election Officials Testify Against INEC, Tinubu In Atiku’s Case

Three ad-hoc presiding officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, testified against the electoral umpire and President Bola Tinubu on Friday, saying despite being trained before the 2023 polls, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machine failed to transmit the scanned result sheet of the presidential election.

They were presented by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate Atiku Abubakar.

At the resumed sitting on Friday, PDP counsel, Chris Uche SAN, told the court that he would continue his case by calling his next subpoenaed witness (PW14) to give evidence.

Grace Ajagbonna, a resident of Egbe, Yagba West LGA, Kogi State, and an ex-National Youth Service Corps member, appeared as the subpoenaed witness.

Tinubu’s lawyer, Akin Olujimi SAN, rose up to restate his objection with regards to the subpoenaed witnesses being presented by the PDP.

APC counsel, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, as well as INEC lawyer, A.B Mahmoud SAN, equally raised objections, asking the court not to take the witnesses’ testimonies.

But Uche urged the court to dismiss the objections in its entirety.

“Ruling on the objection will be delivered along with the judgment,” chairman of the five-man panel of the PEPC, Justice Haruna Tsammani, said.

After that, Grace adopted her witness statement on oath, saying she was engaged by INEC to work as an ad-hoc presiding officer during the 2023 election.

She also presented the letter of acknowledgement from INEC wherein she was deployed to serve as an ad-hoc staff.

Mahmoud asked her if she played her role well and if the electoral process was successful.

She responded in the affirmative but said when she tried sending the National Assembly and Presidential election scanned results, the latter failed to transmit.

“I tried it Continuously. I was repeating it one after the other and it was not going,” the witness said.

She was asked if she was trained on the offline operations of the BVAS.

The witness said she does not remember but was only taught by INEC to use the BVAS to scan results, transmit and then proceed to the collation centre.

She went on to tell the court that she was unhappy when the BVAS machine could not send the presidential results sheets at the polling unit.

“My lord to be sincere, I am not happy that I was unable to transmit the (presidential) election results,” the witness said.

Tinubu’s lawyer, Yusuf Ali SAN, asked her whether she mentioned the name of her training officer.

The witness responded in the negative.

She was told by Ali that the acknowledgement letter she got from INEC did not automatically make her an ad-hoc staff member.

But the witness replied, saying she also has an appointment letter from INEC.

Under cross examination by APC counsel, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, the witness said after the conclusion of her assignment on election day, she wrote a report.

After her, another INEC ad-hoc presiding officer, Abidemi Joseph, announced her appearance saying she served in Niger State.

The same questions asked to the first witness were repeated, of which she insisted the election results could not be transmitted by the BVAS.

Edosa Obosa, an ex-NYSC corps member and presiding officer in Edo State came up to say she tried to upload the scanned result using a BVAS machine but it failed.

But the witnesses all admitted that they submitted the original result sheet, signed by party agents to the Ward collation centre.

The witness was subsequently discharged from the testimony dock and the PDP petition was adjourned to Saturday.

Recall that on Thursday, the PDP fielded two ad-hoc staff who stated the BVAS could not transmit the Presidential election result sheet.

Atiku is contesting the 2023 presidential election results declared in favor of Tinubu.

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