The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) representatives were allegedly harassed and ejected from the Ward Collation Centers where the major election rigging against the former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, took place, according to information provided to the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPEC) on Friday.
The court was also informed that Atiku and the PDP’s delegates had fled the collation centers for their own safety after the results of the presidential election on February 25 were falsified in their favor.
The PDP’s Borno State Collation Agent, Mr. Nicholas Msheliza, testified before the tribunal on Friday that PDP representatives at the ward collation centers had been attacked and chased away while polling unit results had been substantially altered.
The witness, who was led in his main testimony by Atiku’s lead attorney Chris Uche, SAN, said that INEC personnel had broken the law by failing to submit the election results electronically as required by the 2022 Electoral Act.
The alleged act of rigging and other electoral malpractices were described by the witness who gave his witness testimony under oath on March 21 as a “real disaster” that was inflicted on the presidential election.
In response to a query, he stated that Form EC8A polling unit results had been altered in favor of a specific party.
Msheliza acknowledged that elections were conducted at polling places with a good deal of peace in response to Tinubu’s attorney, Akin Olujimi, SAN, but he said that BVAS machines were bypassed at ward collation centers where results were changed and faked.
In response to Olujimi’s additional inquiries, the witness stated that he did not specifically specify any polling places where PDP operatives were forbidden from carrying out their duties in his sworn declaration.
As part of his testimony, Hon. Sani Idris Kutigi, a former member of the House of Representatives, told the court that he was unable to sign the Form EC8D aggregated results results sheets because of differences between the votes cast at the polling places and those submitted on the form.
The former legislator said in court that the real results recorded at the voting places were different from those reported in the Form EC8D, which is why he refused to support the fabricated collated results. He claimed to have voted and to have served as the Niger State PDP Collation Agent.
However, in response to a query from Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, counsel for the All Progressives Congress (APC), Kutigi acknowledged that due to space constraints, he did not include the exact number of voters at the polling places in his sworn witness testimony.
Silas Joseph Onu, a lawyer who testified as the third witness for the PDP and Atiku, said in his own testimony that PDP operatives were forced out of polling places while others were detained and imprisoned for their work at the collation centers in Ebonyi State.
When operatives of his party fled to avoid being slain by criminals hired by the state apparatus to carry out the electoral malpractices, the lawyer said that those who were tampering with the results had a field day.
Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani postponed further hearing on the case until Monday, June 5, in response to a request by Atiku’s attorney.