Witnesses to the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party, on Monday told the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) that the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) used soldiers to molest, harassed and injured voters in the February 23, 2019 general election, who are sympathetic to the PDP
Three witnesses, Babagana Kukawa, Abana Pogu and Suleiman Mohamed Bulama from Borno and Yobe states, who testified yesterday at the ongoing hearing of Atiku and PDP’s petition challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s reelection, told the tribunal that voters in the two states were harassed, intimidated and that farmers are threatened to either vote for APC or risk being ejected from their farmlands.
In his evidence, Bulama alleged that the APC used soldiers to molest, attack and injure some voters suspected to be sympathetic to PDP.
He also alleged that village and district heads were used to coerce the voters into voting for Buhari and the APC
Atiku and the PDP also played video recordings at the tribunal, slowing where a Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mike Igini admitted that INEC would transmit election results with the use of smart card reader to the Commission’s central server.
Igini spoke with Channels Television shortly before the election was conducted.
Atiku’s counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), had tendered 48 Combat Disc (CD), which were admitted by the tribunal as part of efforts to substantiate alleged rigging against the re-election of President Buhari.
Uche who led Atiku and PDP legal team at the proceedings tendered the 48 video recordings through Mr Segun Showumi, one of Atiku’s media aides.
During the play of one of the recordings, the INEC resident commissioner for Akwa Ibom state was emphatic when he told the Channels TV crew that the electoral body would surely use smart card to transmit election results into INEC server.
However, under cross-examination by INEC’s lead counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN), Atiku’s Witness admitted that Igini was not the official spokesman for INEC.
Meanwhile, Buhari through his counsel, Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN) had sought to play counter- video recording tomorrow.
In another video recording, played in the courtroom, INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu expressed optimism before the election that the Commission would use the electronic system during the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
Earlier, the tribunal chairman, Justice Mohammed Garba had dismissed the objection by Buhari and his party, to the tendering and playing of the said video recordings before the tribunal on the ground that they were not front-loaded.
Justice Garba held that both Buhari, APC and INEC are bound by the pre-hearing report they freely signed to the effect that documents to be tendered from the bar can only be opposed at the final address stage.
The tribunal chairman in the unanimous ruling also held that none of the four parties to the agreement can renege on any of the terms and, therefore, admitted the video clips as tendered by the two petitioners through their star witness.
Hearing continues tomorrow.
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