A Channels Television video of Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmoud admitted by the presidential tribunal on Tuesday has cast doubt as to whether the commission transmitted the results of the February 23 Presidential election to the commission’s central server.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election alleged in their petition challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election that results were transmitted to central server managed by INEC.
But INEC has deined this, faulting results being bandied by the PDP and Atiku.
Chief Chris Uche, SAN, Counsel for the petitioners had on July 15 led a star witness, Mr Segun Showunmi to tender 48 Compact Discs evidence to substantiate their claims.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that four of the video clips were played in the court hall including that of the “Count Down of Osun Decides’’, a production of Channels Television with Seun Akinboloye as host.
Another was Channel Television’s production dated Feb.8, where Mr Mike Igini, Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom talked about the readiness of the electoral body to transmit the Feb.23 general election electronically.
Similarly, another Channel Television’s video clip of INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmud was equally admitted tendered and admitted by the tribunal.
NAN reports that Mahmud had in the news video clip played host to some Data experts where he sought their cooperation in ensuring the commission delivered a free and fair election through acceptable technology.
The INEC boss had in that clip expressed wish to work within the law to transmit the results of the general election electronically.
However, Mr Yunus Usman, SAN, spotted a hole in the clip and Showunmi’s testimony during cross examination.
Usman had explained that the witness only brought sets of videos that told a one-sided story.
He made the witness to confirm that the commission never came up with an official briefing to tell the public that results of the election would indeed be transmitted to a central server.
On his part, Dr Alex Izinyon, SAN, specifically accused Showunmi of leaving out a video from Channels Television where the INEC boss stated results of the 2019 general election would not be transmitted electronically to a central server.
Following Izinyon’s submission, the tribunal adjourned on July 15 to allow the second respondent (Buhari) to tender the Feb.6 interview of Mahmud on the subject matter.
NAN reports that the video was eventually admitted and played for the five-man justices chaired by Justice Mohammed Garba and other parties to watch.
In that video, the INEC boss listed communication and security challenges as two major reasons why results from the 2019 general election would not be transmitted electronically.
Subsequently, the petitioners continued with the presentation of their witnesses to testify.
Meanwhile, the tribunal heard that Atiku Abubakar, is a bonafide Nigerian by birth and nationality.
Leading the team of the witnesses, a retired career diplomat, Ambassador Mabien Zamaki told the Justice Mohammed Garba led panel that Atiku was a bonafide Nigerian by birth and nationality and was therefore legally qualified to contest the presidential poll.
The ambassador in his evidence said that he was aware by detailed record that Atiku was born on November 25, 1946, at Jada in the northern part of Nigeria.
Led in evidence by Atiku’s lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche SAN, the retired career diplomat informed the tribunal that Atiku’s record in his former secondary School was not confidential and can be accessed by anyone doubting the nationality of the PDP presidential candidate.
The witness, who claimed to have retired from active service in 2006, admitted that he saw the record from the custodian of the record in their secondary school and that the record are still there for anybody to cross check.
Zamaki further told the tribunal that he has fair knowledge of history of Nigeria as it relates to Jada in Adamawa and insisted that in 1946 when Atiku was born, Jada was part and parcel of Northern Nigeria and not part of Cameroon as suggested by the APC’s counsel.
He vehemently denied that any part of Northern Nigeria including Jada was ever ceded to Cameroon.
Under cross examination by INEC lawyer, the witness confessed that he was not at the point where Atiku was born.
Another witness, Mohammed Kabir Hayatu, a retired Customs Officer, corroborated the Nigerian nationality of the former vice president.
Hayatu told the tribunal that he came in contact with Atiku’s record in the Nigerian Customs Service where Atiku retired as a senior Customs Officer.
Under cross examination, Hayatu said that Adamawa was part of Northern Nigeria and that Jada fell on the part of Nigeria and not Northern Cameroon.
Another witness for the petitioners, Peter Alli in his evidence, alleged that an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Abubakar Kaura was found with the sum of $10,000 dollars on the day of election.
Ali, who said he was the ward collation officer, also alleged that the $10,000 dollars was a bribe for the INEC officer to manipulate the outcome of the election results in the area of Nasarawa State.
Under cross examination by INEC counsel, Yunus Usman, SAN, Ali admitted he reported the matter to the police but was later transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Bureau for further investigation.
When asked if he knew whether anyone was charged for the said allegation, he affirmed he did not know and, even added that he doesn’t have any report concerning the outcome of the investigation.
Further, Ali said the allegation he declared before the tribunal was not hearsay evidence but claimed he was tipped off and personally witnessed the alleged $10,000 dollars found in the custody of the INEC officer.
The witness also asserted that out of the 24 units in the ward, he was only able to receive results of 23 units excluding the unit where the allegation was allegedly perpetrated.
Other witnesses at the Tribunal spoke on electoral malpractices including destruction of electoral materials, falsification, alteration and massive thumb printing of ballot papers at the February 23 presidential election in Nasarawa State.
Later, Sunday John in his evidence told the tribunal that armed men later identified as APC agents struck at a polling unit in Karu Local Government Area and scattered the election materials and damaged the Smart Card Reader deployed for the election.
He said as a result of the violent attack, the election could not hold at the polling unit.
Another witness Harry Gunde also in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, alleged falsification and alteration of election results at the council, which according to him was carried out at the collation center and that it was reported to security personnel but no action was taken.
Additional reports by NAN