An agent of the main opposition party from Borno State has told the Presidential election petition tribunal that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) connived with the ruling All Progressives Congress to ensure a fraudulent increase of over 1,000 polling units in the state, during the February elections.
The witness, Nickolas Shediza, a state collation agent for the Peoples Democratic Party, told the tribunal that although he knew that Borno State had a statuary figure of 3,933 polling units, the polling units were controversially increased to 5078 during the elections.
Mr Shediza also alleged that the number of votes declared to have been cast in parts of the state, 919, 786, was more than the number of accredited voters earlier announced by INEC for the area attributed to the votes.
The witness was, however, unable to state the number of accredited voters as allegedly announced by INEC.
In a report by This Day newspaper in February, the paper had quoted INEC’s resident electoral commissioner in the state, Mohammed Magaa’ji as saying that there were 3, 933 polling units provided by INEC across the 27 local government areas in Borno State.
The paper, however, added that there were over 2.3 million registered voters within the state.
Also in a similar testimony, another witness, Jaffaru Ibrahim told the court that the form EC8C contained “mutilated” result summed from wards and local government areas.
Mr Ibrahim, a lawyer, however, said he signed the form EC8C to prove that he was there when the “mutilated results” were controversially transmitted from the ward and local government result sheets to the form EC8C.
“My signature was not to endorse the firm but to show that I witnessed the irregularities, in accordance with provisions of the electoral act,” Mr Ibrahim said.
In a similar testimony, another witness, John Makama also an agent of the PDP from Kaduna State said he witnessed result sheets been cancelled at the Sanga local government collation centres, as against what he believes to be the practice where problematic inputs in the electoral forms were supposed to be corrected at the polling units.
Mr Makama and other PDP witnesses, however, told the court that most of what they noted in their witness statements were parts of reports given to them by ward and local government collation agents.
They also said the reports from the ward and local government agents were not attached to their witness statements.
Six witnesses have so far testified at Thursday’s hearing session at the tribunal.
The election tribunal is currently in its fifth day since the main hearing of the petition by the PDP and its presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar began on July 4.
Mr Atiku’s running mate, Peter Obi, a former Anambra State governor, was present at the tribunal to represent the petitioners while the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, appeared for the APC and the president, Muhammadu Buhari.
The PDP and two other parties are challenging the February, 23 general elections which saw the emergence of Mr Buhari as winner of the election and president of Nigeria for the second term.
The PDP candidate, Mr Atiku has alleged that he defeated the incumbent president with over 1 million votes.
The other parties challenging the election are the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) and the Hope Democratic Party (HDP).