The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, called additional four witnesses to the stand on Monday, to testify before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) sitting in Abuja.
The development was in respect of the petition filed challenging the declaration of the president, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, as the winner of the 2023 presidential election.
All four witnesses who took the stand,alleged that the election was rigged by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in favour of Tinubu.
The petitioners aggrieved by the turn out of the 2023 polls, filed petition against INEC, All Progressive Congress (APC) and Tinubu, alleging gross violation of the Constitution, Electoral Act and INEC’s guidelines for the conduct of the election that produced Tinubu as the winner.
At Monday’s session, the 7th witness, Dr Abiye Sekibo informed the court that he traversed 20 polling units in Rivers state despite the disturbances during the election, even though he did not mention the names of the alleged perpetrators of the crisis in his statement on oath.
Mohammed Madaki, the FCT chairman of the PDP and the 8th witness called by the petitioners, who were led on evidence by Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), counsel to Atiku and PDP identified Exhibit EC37, the detailed election results from the FCT, which was tendered before the court.
Under cross-examination by counsel to INEC, Abdullahi Aliyu (SAN), the witness said, it was not the pictures of the results from polling units captured by the Biomodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) that were posted to INEC’s IRev because the uploading did not take place at the polling units owing to the failure of the BVAS machines.
Madaki said there are 2, 822 polling units in FCT and that the 10, 295 polling units he referred to in his statement on oath are parts of the overall polling units across the country.
Another witness, Abraham David, while adopting his statement on oath deposed to on March 21 said Atiku Abubakar deserved to be declared winner of the presidential election even though he did not score the 25 per cent votes cast in the FCT.
He confirmed that the PDP presidential candidate scored 15 per cent of the votes cast in FCT and alleged that unlawful votes were collated at polling units by INEC in favour of Tinubu.
The Nasarawa state collation agent for the PDP, Ibrahim Hamza was the 10th witness called by the petitioners and he told the court that the collated election result sheet he signed was allegedly altered after his endorsement.
My Lord, the copy of the election results I signed has no cancellation”, he told the court after being shown Exhibit EC 25, which is the result sheet from Nasarawa state.
He said election results were not uploaded after the election, saying that the system failed during the process of uploading.
Under cross-examination by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), counsel to Tinubu, the witness said, he wants the court to reject the results and that Atiku Abubakar met all the constitutional provisions to be returned as the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
After the testimonies of the witnesses, which brought to a total of ten witnesses so far called by the petitioners, the five-member panel of Justices of the court, headed by Justice Haruna Tsammani adjourned further hearing till June 6, 2023.