Drama As Buhari Objects To Admission Of Own INEC Form CF001 Tendered By Atiku

*Atiku tenders 6,806 additional exhibits against Buhari’s election

*Witnesses admit transmitting election results to INEC Server

By Editor

Tribunal began sitting by 9:30 am

APC represented by its National Chairman Adams Aliu Oshiomhole and Mr Kola Olagbondiyan for Atiku Abubakar.

At the resumption of hearing Dr. Livy Uzoukwu SAN led the petitioner’s legal team.

Yusus Ustaz Usman SAN led INEC and Chief Wole Olanipekum SAN for President Muhammadu Buhari.

Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN led APC legal team.

Six key witnesses yesterday testified for Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and the PDP to substantiate their claims against Buhari’s election.

Two of the witnesses, Ijeoma Peter Obi, an ICT expert and Adejuyitan Ebenezer Olalekan testified that they transmitted election results from polling units to INEC Server during the presidential election result collation.

Obi confirmed he was trained by INEC as a Registration Area Technician (RAT) and shortlisted by INEC for the purpose of election result transmission in the February 23, 2019 presidential poll.

Olalekan was emphatic on how INEC Server looked like. He told the tribunal that the server was automatic and embedded in the smart card reader used by INEC for the poll.

He claimed he personally transmitted several results to the server through a sort code provided by INEC adding that the server is connected to the Smart Card Readers of INEC.

Others who testified for the petitioners are Alhaji Buba Galadima, Adedokun Afeez Adeoye who also corroborated to the use of server by INEC for election results collation, Mohammed Usman Tata and Mustapha Bello.

They informed the tribunal on the irregularities they witnessed on the Election Day especially on the harassment, intimidation and threats to PDP agents during falsification of election result.

Drama however started when President Muhammadu Buhari, objected to the admission of his own form CF001 which contained his personal data he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to secure clearance for the February 23, presidential election. 

Buhari’s objection against the said document was announced by his lead counsel, Chief Olanipekun, SAN, to the presidential election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja. 

Olanipekun while objecting to the admission of the form, however, said that his reason would be made public at the address stage.

Atiku Abubakar and the PDP had tendered Buhari’s form as part of efforts to establish their petition against Buhari on his qualification for the last presidential election. 

Apart from the form, Atiku also tendered the final results of the election signed by Professor Yakubu Mahmood which the tribunal admitted as exhibit. 

Also tendered and admitted as exhibits are documents containing total number of voters in the INEC register and the number of collected permanent voters’ card for the elections. 

Atiku’s lead counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu also tendered six newspapers publications and 10 press statements issued by INEC in respect of the election. 

The newspapers tendered are Thisday, Daily Trust, Tribune, Sunday Tribune and Vanguard.

Other documents numbering 6, 806 mainly election result sheets from the Kano and Zamfara states were also tendered and admitted by the tribunal. 

Also, Atiku and the PDP yesterday commenced calling of witnesses to testify for them in their allegations of election malpractices, corruption, irregularities and violence against the conduct of election that produced Buhari as President. 

The first witness, Buba Galadima who adopted his statement made on oath said under cross examination by Buhari’s counsel,  Chief Olanipekun that he supported Buhari in the 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 presidential elections but parted ways with him due to Buhari’s alleged unfulfilled promises on governance to Nigerians.

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. 

The witness, however, denied parting ways with Buhari because he was denied privileges but insisted that Buhari failed to protect lives and properties of citizens and did not allow the rule of law to prevail. 

Also under cross examination by the APC counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, Galadima further told the tribunal that he was not a member of the PDP but that his factional 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. 

The second petitioner’s witness,  Ijeoma Peter Obi who claimed to be an Information, Communications and Technology (ICT), expert admitted transmitting results from polling units to the INEC  server in his capacity as Registration Area Technician who was trained and shortlisted by INEC for the 2019 election. 

Another witness, Adejuwitan Ebenezar Olalekan also admitted transmitting election results to INEC server.

Olalekan told the tribunal that INEC server was automatic and embedded in the smart card reader for the purposes of transmitting results. 

He added that he personally transmitted results to INEC server through a code provided by the electoral umpire, saying that the server was connected to the smart card reader. 

Under cross examination by Olanipekun, the witness said that he did not know President Muhammadu Buhari as second respondent in Atiku’s petition. 

Also under cross examination by Fagbemi, the witness admitted not serving as presiding officer for INEC but he was only shortlisted by the electoral body for the purpose of election result collation.

The tribunal continues sitting tomorrow when Atiku and PDP are expected to call more witnesses.