About 13 Presiding Officers (POs) in Borno and Yobe states have told the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja that they transmitted the results of the February 23 Presidential election in their various units and wards to the official server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The POs in their respective Witness Statement of Oath in support of the petition filed by the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), HE Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, challenging the election of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC), stated that the election body had, during their training, instructed them on how to transmit the results to its server.
The submission of the POs was to lay credence to the petition of Atiku and PDP, wherein they alleged that the INEC pulled down the official results from its server and consequently replaced it with a doctored one to favour President Buhari. The position of the POs, however, contradicted the submission of INEC who had stated in its reply to the petition that results were not sent to its server. All these were, however, contained in Atiku’s reply to the objection filed by APC, who is the 3rd respondent, to his (Atiku’s) petition before the Presidential tribunal, wherein he is challenging the election that produced Buhari.
According to one of the POs, “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 the 23rd February, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) elections. ”
The training covered the duties of all 1st Respondent’s ad-hoc staff at the polling units and the procedure for the conduct of election which includes accreditation, verification, authentication, collation and transmission of results as well as the use of Smart Card Reader (SCR), amongst others. “At the 1st Respondent training, we were specifically instructed that the use of the Smart Card Reader for accreditation, verification, authentication, collation and transmission of results is mandatory and that any election conducted without the use of the Smart Card Reader would be invalid.
“I took part in the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) elections of 23rd February, 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. “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 (AP0-1) 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.”