• Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Failure to secure 25% vote in FCT disqualifies Atiku, Tinubu — Witnesses tell Tribunal

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Witnesses of the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar on Monday admitted before the Presidential Election Petitions Court that its party’s candidate and President Bola Tinubu should not be declared president for failing to secure 25 percent if votes in the Federal Capital Territory.

At the resumed hearing on Atiku’s petition against Tinubu, the witnesses maintained that it is constitutional that a candidate must secure 25 percent of votes in FCT to be declared winner.

In the presidential election results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) only Peter Obi, the Labour Party candidate secured 25 peecent and even more of the votes in the FCT, having 281,717 which is 59 percent. Tinubu of All Progressives Congress recorded the highest votes of 8,794,726 but had only 90,902 which is 18.98 percent of the votes in the FCT, while Atiku Abubakar secured 74,194 votes.

One of the petitioners’ witness called today (Monday) also told the court that if President Tinubu who did not score 25 percent of votes in FCT, Atiku ought to be sworn-in having allegedly scored majority of lawful votes cast in the entire election

While testifying under cross examination by Abdullahi Aliyu, counsel to INEC, Mohammed Madaki, one of the witnesses from Gwagwalada FCT and chairman of PDP, FCT, said the presidential candidate is meant to secure one quarter of the FCT votes. He further admitted that even his candidate, Atiku is not entitled to be returned as president.

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When asked if the assertion on 25 percent votes was his personal opinion, he said no, but was based on the law.

The witness also decried that pictures of polling units results captured on BVAS were not updated on IREV.

Under cross examination by Lateef Fagbemi, counsel to APC, the witness was asked if he personally wrote the witness statement on oath, he said yes, but gave to his lawyers to go through. But Fagbemi asked him what the meaning of ‘conscientiously’ is as contained in the statement, the witness said he cannot remember.

Another witness, Abraham David, a business man resident in Abuja AND PDP agent while testifying under cross examination by Aliyu, INEC’S lawyer, maintained that Atiku and Tinubu did not get 25 percent and should not be returned.

He also said Atiku is entitled to be returned, even though he did not score 25 percent, becsue even Tinubu did not score 25 percent, but was declared president.

Under cross examination by Akin Olujimi, Tinubu’s lawyer, David said he visited 15 out of 2,822 polling units in the FCT, and observed that unlawful votes were collated by INEC, including reports he received from the party’s polling agents.

Ibrahim Hamza, PDP’s collation agent for Nasarawa state told the court, evidence testifying under cross examination by the respondents that he signed the Nasarawa result under duress, alleging that the LP cannot win in the state.

When presented the results he signed by the court’s registrar, he said, “I can see my signature but the original one I signed, there was not cancellation.”

Under cross examination by Abubakar Mahmoud, INEC’S counsel he decried that results were not uploaded after the election.

” BVAS crashed in the process of uploading results. There was a lot of abuses in the polling units, due process was not followed, we were intimidated that if we don’t sign the results, we won’t get the result sheets. I obtained the results under duress”, he alleged.

INEC’s lawyer however told him that he did not include in his statement of oath that he signed under duress, but he answered by saying that he was waiting for the opportunity to testify so that he could explain more.

Under cross examination by Olujimi, APC’s counsel, the witness further said, “I am not happy with the result in Nasarawa state, I don’t want the court to accept it. We have the authentic result, its with the national agent. Atiku satisfied all the constitutional provision to be returned as President.”

When asked the whereabouts of the National agent, he said he does not know.