Politics

“I Was Forced to Sign Presidential Poll Result in Kogi” – Atiku’s Witness Tells Tribunal

A witness for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, made some noteworthy revelations on Thursday at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja.

POLITICS NIGERIA reports that Capt. Joe Agada (retd), the PDP’s State Collation Agent in Kogi State during the general election, testified that he was compelled to sign the result of the presidential election under duress.

Taking the stand as Atiku’s first witness, Capt. Joe Agada shared his account of the alleged coercion he experienced at the hands of officials from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

According to him, INEC officials refused to provide him with a copy of the result to present to his party unless he signed the document.

Under the guidance of Atiku’s lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, the witness stood firm in his assertion that the presidential election results in Kogi State were manipulated.

He went on to describe over 20 polling units where he personally witnessed the manipulation of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines.

He said: “My lords, apart from where I voted, which was at Ogene- Oforachi village in Ogugu Ward in Kogi State, I also served as my party’s State Collation Agent.

“I had a tag and a vehicle with a sticker that identified me as being on election duty. The exemption tag which was issued to me by INEC, allowed me to move around on the election day.

“I had the opportunity of visiting some highlighted polling units in my LGA, even though I did not visit all the polling units.”

When cross-examined by counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mr. Abdullahi Aliyu, SAN, the witness said he observed all the manipulations in Kogi state during the election.

“My lords, I am a witness of truth. I did not visit all the polling units, but I was present when BVAS in over 20 PUs were being manipulated across the two Senatorial Districts that I visited.

“I may not be exact, but there are nothing less than 3500 polling units in Kogi State.

“I spent between three to five minutes in each of the polling units that I visited,” the witness added.

Asked if agents of the PDP signed the result sheets, the witness, said: “Yes, our agents signed the Forms EC8A, EC8B and EC8C.

“But they were forced to sign the results, especially in Kogi state, because INEC said they would not give us copies unless we signed.”

Asked if as the State Collation Agent of the PDP, he signed the result sheet, he said: “My lords, I was forced to sign the state collection result because without signing, they said they would deny me a copy to take to my party.

“I thereafter protested and also wrote a petition to INEC,” the witness told the court, even as he admitted that he served as State Collation Agent for the PDP in 2015 and also appeared as a witness in the 2019 presidential election dispute between Atiku and former President Muhammadu Buhari.

“In 2015, I refused to sign the result. But at that time, INEC did not deny me a copy to take to my party. But this year, the INEC man insisted that they would not give me a copy unless I signed the result,” Capt. Agada, retd, added.

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