Politics

Presidential Election Tribunal: Buhari kicks against admission of own bio-data to INEC

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, Alhaji 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.

Abubakar and his party had tendered Buhari’s form towards establishing their petition against Buhari on his qualification for the last presidential election.

Abubakar also tendered the final result of the election as signed by the INEC boss, Professor Yakubu Mahmood. The tribunal already admitted that in evidence 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.

Abubakar’s lead counsel, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu equally tendered six Newspapers publications and 10 press statements issued by INEC in respect to the election.

So far, about 6,806 election result sheets from Kano and Zamfara States were tendered and admitted by the tribunal in evidence.

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.

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