Election Tribunal: Buhari rejects admission of own bio-data to INEC

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari Monday objected to the admission of his form, CF001, which contained his personal data, submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the February 23 presidential election.

 

His objection was announced at the resumed hearing of the petition filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. Buhari’s lead counsel, Chief Wale Olanipekun (SAN), while objecting to the admission of the form, stated that his reasons would be made public at the address stage.

 

Atiku and the PDP had tendered Buhari’s form towards establishing their petition against Buhari on his qualification for the last presidential election. Atiku also tendered the final result of the election as signed by INEC boss, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood. The tribunal already admitted that in evidence as exhibit.

Also tendered and admitted as exhibit are documents containing the total number of voters in the INEC register and the number of collected permanent voters’ card for the 2019 general elections. 

 

Dr. Livy Uzoukwu, (SAN), Counsel for the petitioners tendered the document before Justice Mohammed Garba-led five-man panel as part of his clients’ moves to prove allegations of election malpractice leveled against the conduct of the election.

 

Also admitted in evidence, was the receipt of payment dated March 24 and acknowledgment letter issued by INEC Director of Legal Services in respect of the above document were also admitted as evidence. A total of six national dailies were also tendered by the petitioners and admitted as evidence by the tribunal. The national dailies were: Daily Trust (Feb.8, 2019); Vanguard (Feb.19, 2019); Nigerian Tribune (Feb.20, 2019) THISDAY (Feb.24, 2019); and Sunday Tribune (Feb.24, 2019); as well as Vanguard dated March 26, 2019.

 

The receipt obtained from the National Library in respect of the certified newspapers was also admitted in evidence. Meanwhile, another set of result sheets from Zamfara and Kano totaling 6,806 were admitted as additional evidence. The petitioners on July 4 tendered a total of 31, 371 documents comprising election results sheets from wards, polling units and LGAs from 10 states. The states were Niger; Yobe; Katsina; Kebbi; Borno; Jigawa; Gombe; Bauchi; and Kaduna.

 

With the tendering of election results over, Abubakar and the PDP began the calling of witnesses to testify to their allegations of election malpractices, corruption, irregularities and violence in the conduct of election that produced Buhari as President.

 

The first Witness was Buba Galadima. A spokesperson for the Atiku Campaign Organisation and former ally of Buhari, who adopted his statement made on oath stated under cross-examination by Buhari’s counsel, Chief Wale Olanipekun, that he supported Buhari in the 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 presidential elections respectively but parted ways with him due to Buhari’s alleged unfulfilled promises.

 

Galadima further told the tribunal 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. He insisted that Buhari failed to protect life and property of citizens and did not allow the rule of law to prevail.

 

Still under cross-examination by 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 lives and property and allow the rule of law to prevail.

 

The next petitioner’s witness, Ijeoma Peter Obi, who said he was 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.

 

Also testifying was Adejuwitan Ebenezar Olalekan who accepted that he transmitted 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 commission.

 

Under cross-examination by Olanipekun, the Witness stated that he did not know President Muhammadu Buhari as second respondent in Atiku’s petition. Still under cross-examination by Fagbemi, the witness admitted not serving as presiding officer for INEC but only shortlisted by the electoral body.