Andrew Orolua, Abuja
The Presidential election petition tribunal on Thursday heard that the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) connived with the All Progressives Congress (APC) and cancelled election results in some local government areas where the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored the highest votes cast during the February 23 Presidential election in Kaduna and Borno states.
John Makama, the Petitioners’ witness number 24 who served as the Peoples Democratic Party’s collation agent in Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State and Adams Ali Sani, a PDP collation agent in Jere local government of Borno State and petitioner witness number 26, stated this in their testimonies before the tribunal.
Makama said the results of the poll in the stronghold of his party were cancelled by the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The witnesses were testifying in the petition filed by Atiku Abubakar and PDP challenging the election of President Muhammadu Buhari before the five man justices of the Court of Appeal headed by Justice Mohammed Garba.
Makama further told the tribunal in his evidence -in -chief that the election in Saga Local Government Area of Kaduna State was marred by illegal cancellation of votes.
Under cross-examination by the respondents’ counsel, Makama said the results were cancelled in his presence at the local government collation centre by the INEC’s local government collation officer and not at the polling units where the election took place.
He said “it is an aberration that results from wards and polling units were cancelled. The election held at the polling units, but the cancellations happened at the local government collation centre.
The results from the petitioners’ stronghold were illegally cancelled. It is an open fact that political parties have stronghold where they are dominant.”
He said of the 11 wards in Sanga Local Government Area, the APC was only strong in three.
Under cross-examination by Buhari’s lawyer, Yusuf Ali (SAN), Makama could not respond when told that cancellation of results in Sanga Local Government Area was not part of the case presented by the petitioners in their petition.
In his testimony, Adams Ali Sani, the PDP collation agent at Jere Local government area of Borno State, told the tribunal he did not receive result sheet from some of party agents because there was no election in many wards and form EC8A was not issued due to insurgency.
He said that as the party collation agent, he supervised and monitored the election before returning at the collation centre.
“There was five bombing incidence on that day particularly at Hamari and we did not have access to Form EC8A. No voting in the area, so we cannot even talk about counting of votes”
Yaro Yusuf, a PDP Local government agent also from Bauchi, told the tribunal that the result sheet from his local government was torn.
Jafaru Abba Ibrahim, a very senior member of bar from Kaduna State who was called to bar in 1981 and who served as Local government collation agent, under cross examination by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) said that he signed the election result sheet just to confirm that he was present.
Under cross examination by Charles Edosumwan (SAN) counsel to APC, Ibrahim admitted that he chased away the APC supporters who were being transported from one polling unit to the other casting votes. He said though there was restriction in Zaria local government, the supporters of APC were allowed to move about in trucks.
Also in Kaduna State, Dr. Abdulrahman Usman, a collation agent, said that Form EC8A was not made available in several polling units in Kaduna North Local government areas.
Under cross examination by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) whether President Buhari spoke English Language as a visitor to Ahamadu Bello University in 1984 and 1985, the witness said he heard Buhari address the nation in English language as a military Head of State who came power under the barrel of gun.
Four other witnesses: Major Yahaya Dikko (rtd), Nicholas Mshelica, Khalid Yewal Kugo and Buka Petrus also testified on Thursday.
Hearing at the tribunal continues today.