Presidential Poll: Atiku closes case after calling star, 62 witnesses

Former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, closed his case at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

Abubakar and his party closed their case after calling 62 witnesses out of the 400 earlier penciled down to give oral testimony in an effort to prove that he won this year’s presidential election.

The former vice president is challenging the outcome of the February 23 election on the grounds that the result was manipulated to favour President Muhammad Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with 15,191,847 votes, against his closest 11,262,978 votes.

His Counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), had informed the tribunal that they would not be calling any other witness after the star witness, former Corp Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and one-time minister of Aviation, Chief Osita Chidoka, was called in after the tribunal reconvened from the traditional one-hour break.

Fully prepared to expose all he knew about the INEC central server, Chidoka informed the tribunal that he was the National Collation Agent and Head of PDP Situation Room for the election.

Upon cross-examination by INEC Counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN), he admitted that he was not there when results were transmitted or seen the INEC server. He, however, told the tribunal that the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, had consistently told them at various times during meetings preceding the polls that a server would be used for the purpose of electronic transmission of results.

Chidoka said he was there when the results were collated by INEC and that it was done manually. Though he could not disclose the serial number of the server in which results were transmitted to by party agents, he reminded the INEC Counsel that card reader was not mentioned in their meetings with Yakubu, but it was used in the election.

Responding to questions from Yakubu Maikyau, Counsel to the APC, Chidoka revealed that the INEC chairman had told him and other stakeholders during meetings that they should assume the election was being conducted under the new Electoral Act (which was later not signed into law).

He wondered why the Commission spent a whooping N27billion on Information Technology (IT), only to come out and tell Nigerians that it did not deploy server for the purpose of electronic transmission of election results.

Chidoka also told the tribunal that Yakubu had told him that it would be immoral for the electoral body not to use electronic transmission of results after N27billion had been spent on IT facilities and equipment.

Earlier, Mr. David Nyoga from Kenya told the tribunal that in his analysis, four websites were discovered to belong to INEC.

Under cross-examination by Counsel to Buhari, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the witness stated that the analysis carried out were on data supplied by a whistleblower, adding that exhibit attached to his statement on oath was signed and dated and he used ‘WHOIS tools’ in his work on the analysis.

On whether he attached his education qualification to his deposition, the witness answered in the negative.

The witness further told the tribunal that the information contained in the report of his analysis were extracts made from three of the four websites, saying Fact.Com was created on March 12 against the February 23 presidential election.

On the exact date the presidential election sheet, which contains the results of each political party was created, the witness told the tribunal that he was not sure of the date. While admitting that it formed part of INEC website, he, however, stated that he had no information regarding when it was created.

When asked to give full names of Mr. B.U.K used in the data found in the server, the witness told the tribunal that if given access to INEC server by its chairman, he would get the full name, noting: “The name was created for security reasons. I cannot mention the name because I was not authorised to disclose this.”

Under cross examination by Counsel to APC, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), the witness maintained that Yakubu could authorise access to the server, insisting: “If INEC chairman authorises only access, I would prove that it was gotten from its server.

“I used scientific method and knowledge to ascertain and got the information. It is possible using the same scientific method and knowledge to alter it.”

He also admitted that with garbage in and garbage out computer concept, one can have faulty results.

On whether he was engaged and paid for the job, the witness answered that only the logistics for the job were paid for, stating: “I was not paid, but logistics were paid for.”