By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
Petitioners’ second witness at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, Mr. Peter Ijeoma Obi, yesterday, said it was wrong to say the results of the February 23, 2019 presidential election were not transmitted electronically.
The witness, who adopted his statement of April 26 as his evidence in chief, said he worked as Registration Area Technician at a ward level in Rivers State, during the election.
He told the tribunal that the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) trained him and others to transmit the results of the poll.
Under Cross examination, counsel to INEC, Yunus Usman (SAN), asked the witness, “You are not supposed to transmit results because you are not a presiding officer,”
Obi said, “You are wrong sir. INEC trained us to transmit results. I was not a presiding officer. I was not a polling agent. I was a registration area technician appointed by INEC. I was trained by INEC.”
Still under examination, the witness told counsel to Muhammad Buhari, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), that he was not aware of the guidelines used by the INEC for the presidential election.
He rather informed the tribunal that there was a specific guidelines booklet issued for his roles as a RATECH.
“I was a RATECH in charge of the use of card reader,” he said.
‘’ I am not aware that there was no designation in the INEC’s guidelines as Registration Area Technician.
‘’I operated at the ward level with the Local Government Technician and the State Technician as his superiors.
‘’I was not stationed at any polling unit during the election but visited the ones where his attention was needed. I visited seven polling units in the course of the election.’’
Fielding questions from APC’s lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Obi said the lawyer was not entirely correct to say that it was the duty of the Presiding Officer “to do accreditation, verification authentication, and collation at the Poling Units.”
“You are not entirely correct sir, because we were told at the training that the Assistant Polling Officer 1, was in charge of accreditation.”
“I did not serve as APO1 and I did not serve as the Presiding Officer.” ‘’I did not act on my own, i have a letter to show that I was shortlisted.”
Earlier in the trial, the petitioner called up their first Witness, Buba Galadima.
The witness who adopted his statement as evidence in chief, had under cross examination by Olanipekun, said 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.
However, 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 the claim by Olanikpekun that he parted ways with Buhari because he was denied privileges, he however, insisted that Buhari failed to protect life and property of citizens and did not allow the rule of law to prevail.
Answering questions with the APC counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, 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.
According to him, he has nothing personal against the president but against bad governance.
Also, a third witness, Adejuwitan Olalekun, a presiding officer, under cross examination was asked for the number and name of serve.
The witness said the number and name of the server code were attached to the smart card reader but he doesn’t know it by heart.
The witness was asked if he transmitted any election data to the said server personally the witness answered in the affirmative.
When asked if the smart card reader worked for everyone in his own unit he answered in the affirmative.
When asked if there was a directive from INEC to do manual check if the smart card readers do not work and to take photographs of same.
The witness said there was no such directive The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar and the party had tendered Buhari’s form as part of efforts to establish their petition against Buhari on his qualification for the last presidential election.
The form CF001 which contained his personal data was submitted to the electoral body for February 23, presidential election.
Apart from the form, Atiku also tendered the final result of the election signed by professor Yakubu Mahmood which the tribunal admitted as exhibit.
Also tendered and admitted as exhibit are documents containing total number of voters in the INEC register and the number of collected permanent voters card for the elections.