•Ready to testify at presidential petition tribunal
Davidson Iriekpen with agency report
Indications have emerged that about 13 presiding officers deployed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the presidential election have admitted under oath that they transmitted results electronically.
THISDAY gathered that the presiding officers who are in Borno and Yobe States have agreed to testify before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal that they transmitted results of the February 23 presidential election to the server of the commission.
The contention whether or not results were forwarded to a central database of the commission has been among the top grounds for contesting the presidential election results by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Atiku was the main challenger to President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential election.
On February 27, INEC declared Buhari winner of the elections, and issued him a certificate of return for a second four-year term starting May 29.
Atiku and his party, the PDP, challenged the results at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal last month, saying he won the election and was in possession of evidence that would upturn the declared outcome.
However, in his 139-page petition challenging the results at the election tribunal, Atiku said the results from INEC’s server showed he polled 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari who had 16,741,430 votes, which contradicted the results declared by INEC that said Buhari received 15,191,847 votes against Atiku’s 11,262,978 votes.
Atiku’s lawyers said the results were released by an INEC whistleblower that had access to the commission’s internal server and other tools throughout the election.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) had tackled Atiku over his claim that results from INEC’s server showed that he won the election.
INEC also dismissed Atiku’s claim, saying the results he paraded were fabricated.
But the PDP presidential candidate said he was willing to engage experts from Microsoft, IBM and Oracle to verify his claim.
He and the PDP said INEC pulled down the results from its server and replaced it with a doctored one to favour the president.
In their witness statement of oath as reported by The Cable, the presiding officers, about 13 of them, said INEC had during their training, instructed them on how to electronically transmit the results to its server.
“I took part in the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) elections of February 23, 2019 where I served as the Presiding Officer (PO) and I ensured the use of the Smart Card Reader for accreditation, verification, authentication, collation and transmission of votes in my polling unit,” one of the presiding officers said.
“At the end of voting, the information on the Smart Card Reader with the results inclusive, were collated by me in the presence of the party agents and other ad-hoc staff of the 1st respondent after which my Assistant Presiding Officer (APO-1) transmitted the result electronically in my presence to the 1st respondent’s server, using the Smart Card Reader (SCR) and the code provided by the 1st respondent.”
Another presiding officer said: “I was employed as an ad hoc staff and trained for three days by the 1st respondent at the Government College, Maiduguri, Borno State to serve as a Presiding Officer (PO) at Waliri Polling Unit with Code 003, of Shehun Barna Ward, Borno State on February 23, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) elections.”