About 13 Presiding Officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Borno and Yobe States, have told the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abuja, that they transmitted the results of the February 23, Presidential election in their various units and wards, to the official server of INEC.
The Presiding Officers in their respective Witness Statements of Oath, in support of the petition filed by the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, challenging the election of President Muhammadu Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, stated that the electoral body had during their training, instructed them on how to transmit the results to its server.
The submission of the Presiding Officers were to lay credence to the petition of Atiku and the PDP, wherein they alleged that INEC pulled down the official results from its server, and consequently replaced it with a doctored one to favour Buhari.
The position of the Presiding Officers, however, contradicted the submission of INEC, who had earlier stated in its reply to the petition, that the results were never sent to its server.
All these were contained in Atiku’s reply to the objection filed by the APC, who is the 3rd Respondent to his (Atiku) petition before the Presidential Tribunal, wherein he is challenging the election that produced Buhari as winner.
Recall, that INEC had declared Buhari as the winner of the February 23, election, having polled 15,191,847 votes, to defeat his closest challenger, Atiku, who polled 11,262,978 votes.
However, Atiku in his 139-page petition before the Tribunal, stated that from the data in INEC’s server, the true, actual, and correct results, showed that he (Atiku) secured a total of 18,356,732 votes, against Buhari’s 16,741,430 votes.
On its part, INEC stated that there was no result in its server, and that the Presidential election results were not transmitted electronically.
Nonetheless, in reaction to paragraph 29 of the 3rd Respondent’s reply, the Petitioners averred that the data and scores in the 1st Respondent’s server, were as transmitted by the 1st Respondent’s Officials, and those scores are valid, and legitimate.
Atiku, through his team of Counsel, led by Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), had listed about 13 Presiding Officers from different Wards in Borno and Yobe States, and also attached their Witness Statements on Oath.
According to one of the Presiding Officers: “I was employed as an Ad hoc staff and trained for three days by the 1st Respondent, at the Government College, Maiduguri, Borno State, to serve as a Presiding Officer (PO) at Waliri Polling Unit, with Code 003, of Shehun Barna Ward, Borno State, on the 23rd of February, 2019, Presidential and National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) elections.
“The training covered the duties of all 1st Respondent’s Ad-hoc staff at the polling units, and the procedure for the conduct of election which includes accreditation, verification, authentication, collation, and transmission of results, as well as the use of Smart Card Readers (SCR), among others.
“At the 1st Respondent training, we were specifically instructed that the use of the Smart Card Readers for accreditation, verification, authentication, collation, and transmission of results is mandatory, and that any election conducted without the use of the Smart Card Readers, would be invalid.
“I took part in the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) elections, of 23rd February, 2019, where I served as the Presiding Officer (PO), and I ensured the use of the Smart Card Readers for accreditation, verification, authentication, collation, and transmission of votes in my polling unit.
“At the end of voting, the information on the Smart Card Readers with the results inclusive, were collated by me in the presence of the party Agents and other Ad-hoc staff of the 1st Respondent, after which my Assistant Presiding Officer (AP0-1) transmitted the results electronically in my presence to the 1st Respondent’s server, using the Smart Card Readers (SCR) and the code provided by the 1st Respondent.”
Furthermore, in the witness statements of the Presiding Officer of Daza Primary School, Code 001, Daze Marte Ward of Borno State, who was coded as BU; the Presiding Officer of Mustapha Ali Bama, Code 036, Mafoni MCC Ward, who was coded IM; the Presiding Officer of Binkalion Code 003, Maisandari Damaturu Ward Yobe, coded as AB and APO of Kafan Sarki Code 007, Yabir-Gujba of Yobe State, coded as AW; they all admitted that the results of the Presidential election were transmitted electronically to INEC’s server.