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Monday, April 22, 2019

Presiding Officers: "We Transmitted Presidential Results Directly To INEC Server"

About 13 Presiding Officers (POs) in Borno and Yobe states have come out to support Atiku’s claim 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).
Reporting to the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja, the PO’s gave their respective Witness Statement of Oath in support of the petition filed by the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, challenging the decision of the electoral body for declaring President Muhammadu Buhari  winner of the election.

Atiku in his written petition alleged that the INEC pulled down the official results from its server and consequently replaced it with a false 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.

INEC had declared President Buhari as the winner of the February 23 election, having polled 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest challenger, Atiku, who polled 11,262,978. But, Atiku in his 139- page petition before the tribunal stated that from the data in INEC’s server, the true, actual and correct results showed that he (Atiku) secured a total of 18,356,732 votes against Buhari’s 16,741,430 votes. 

On its part, INEC stated that there was no result in its server and that the presidential election results were not transmitted electronically.

According to one of the POs, “I was employed as an ad hoc staff and trained for three days by the 1st Respondent (INEC) at the Government College, Maiduguri, Bomo State to serve as a Presiding Officer (PO) at Waliri Polling Unit with Code 003, of Shehun Barna Ward, Bomo 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 (INEC) 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 (INEC) 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(INEC).”

They went further to say that the election body had, during their training, instructed them on how to transmit the results to its server, and did as instructed.

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