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Witnesses accuse INEC, police of rigging poll for Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari addressed APC Chieftains after INEC declared him President-elect.

The Presidential Election Tribunal resumed sitting yesterday with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, calling more witnesses who alleged rigging of the poll in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The witnesses are Tanko Birchi, Salisu Yusuf Maijigiri, Salisu Garba Funtua, Abdusalam Idris, Aliu Umar Ustas, Ibrahim Musa, Audu Sanni, Balarabe Usman and Umar Alhaji.

Led in evidence by Atiku’s lawyer, Livy Uzoukwu, the witnesses faulted the declaration of President Buhari as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

They insisted that in Katsina, Kebbi and Niger states where they voted and monitored the election, the presidential poll was marred by rigging, allocation of votes to parties, use of thugs to cause mayhem and non-accreditation of voters.

They also alleged cases of over-voting, cancellation and alteration of election results as well as the use of police to intimidate, harass and coarse the electorate into doing their biddings.

The nine witnesses told the Justice Mohammed Garba-led tribunal that political thugs were used by Buhari’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), to chase away PDP agents, which resulted to some of the agents not signing some result sheets.

The PDP chairman in Katsina State, Salisu Yusuf Maijigiri, categorically told the tribunal that Atiku defeated Buhari in the state.

Maijigiri faulted the 1, 555, 633 votes credited to Buhari, insisting that it was not the true reflection of what transpired on the day of the election. According to him, the figure was manufactured and allotted to the President.

He further alleged that agents of PDP in the 34 local government areas of the state were chased away while INEC adhoc staff were substituted with untrained ones, who were used to produce fake results in the state.

Maijigiri told the tribunal that PDP won in Katsina State with 905,000 votes while APC came second with 872,000 votes from the result collated by his party.

For Salisu Garba Funtua, there were cases of over-voting on the election day as the card readers were allegedly abandoned. He also said that elections were cancelled in several places due to the failure of the card reader.

Under cross-examination, the witness insisted that the election was not free and fair because of over-voting and other malpractices.

Another witness, Abdulsalam Idris, told the tribunal that Atiku and PDP never conceded defeat to Buhari and APC because what happened on the February 23, 2019 could not be called election in the full meaning of democracy.

Also, Aliu Umar Ustas, a local government collation officer for Atiku, alleged that police connived with APC members to cheat the PDP. He stated, under cross-examination, that his party collated detailed results which were with the party.

In his own evidence, Tanko Birchi, a lawyer and businessman, said he was not physically present in all polling units but that he received complains both in writing and verbally on the irregularities that characterized the election, and that the complains had been delivered to the PDP national secretariat.

Before adjourning hearing till Thursday, July 13, a total of 13 witnessed were called by Atiku.

Others include Ogunsanya Abiola, Uchenna Umeh, Abubakar Mohammed Wali and Bako Umar Kakanga.


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