Six respondent witnesses, who are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday told the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Lafia, Nasarawa State that votes scored by Governor Abdullahi Sule during the March 18 poll in Keffi and Awe local government areas of the state were reduced in an attempt to give opposition candidate an edge.
They also alleged that votes scored by the main opposition party the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were inflated in the affected areas.
Counsels to Governor Sule presented the witnesses in continuation of their defense in the petition filed by PDP and its governorship candidate, David Ombugadu, challenging the declaration of Gov Sule as the winner of the election.
Testifying before the tribunal, witness number two for the second respondent, Isham Abubakar Dan’azumi, a farmer and APC Polling unit agent, said in Wuse TV Centre Polling Unit 010, the BVAS machine was used and that the results were uploaded to INEC iRev by the presiding officer.
He however complained that the scores of APC was reduced in Wuse TV Centre Polling Unit while that of PDP was increased.
The defense witness number two, under cross examination, confirmed evidence tendered before the tribunal by the lead counsel to the APC, being the first respondent, Mathew Burkah, showing that while APC scored 353 votes at the polling unit 010, with PDP recording 37, the collation at the registration area of Wuse electoral ward, showed that the votes of APC was reduced to 193, while that of the PDP was increased to 197.
Answering further questions from the petitioners’ counsel, Jibrin Samuel Okutepa SAN, he noted that Sule Audu was not the APC polling unit agent, saying he signed the ward result of Wuse Ward.
Also testifying before the tribunal, the respondent witness number three, Abdullahi Hashimu Danlami, a resident of Sabon Garin Awe in Awe LGA, said from the report he received from his party agents, INEC conducted governorship election peacefully in Makungiji Electoral Ward, and on the day of the election, he cast his votes before going to the Ward Collation Centre, adding that BVAS machine was used by INEC Presiding Officers.
He explained that after the election, INEC presiding officers uploaded the results to iReV but his party had an issue with Kekura Primary School Polling Unit of Makungiji Electoral Ward, where the scores of APC was reduced while that of PDP was increased.
He said APC scored 238 in Kekura Primary School Polling Unit while PDP got 15 while in the result of Makungiji Electoral Ward APC score was entered as 159 instead of 238 and that of PDP increased to 94 instead of 15 which was its score at the Polling Unit Level.
Abdullahi Hashimu Danlami said on sighting the irregularities, he complained to the ward collation officer but his complaint was ignored.
On his part, Abdullahi Tela Usman, RW4 and resident of Akiri, Awe local government area, told the tribunal that after he cast his votes, he moved to the Ward Collation Centre and visited some polling units in Akiri Ward. He added that the BVAS machine was used by INEC presiding officers for accreditation as well as uploaded the results to iReV.
He explained that his party had problems with the results of Ungwan Torbuto Polling Unit of Akiri Ward where the score of APC was calculated wrongly and that of PDP was increased. He said APC scored 213 while PDP got 59 but it was recorded as 161 for APC while that of PDP was increased to 111.
Also, Ahmad Abubakar Sarki, another witness and resident in Keffi, said that he visited Ungwan Nupawa and Ungwan Yarbawa Polling Units where APC scored 200, and PDP got 17 votes in the fish unit respectively.
Kasim Tanko Kasim, RW six and resident in Keffi said after he cast his vote at his polling unit, he proceeded to the Ward Collation Centre and visited some polling units within his ward.
He said in his polling unit and all the polling units he visited, INEC presiding officers used the BVAS machines to authenticate voters before they cast their votes and that the officers uploaded the results to iReV.
He however said the APC results in Ungwan Kwara and Kofar Gidan Late Mai Angwan Polling Units were reduced while that of PDP was increased. He added that APC scored 360 in Ungwan Kwara but it was recorded as 2 while PDP got 14 but it was increased to 384.
Abdullahi AlKasim, resident of Gangaren Yara in Keffi, said he cast his vote at his polling unit in Alhaji Mukhtar Ahuwa, before he proceeded to the Ward Collation Centre.
He said that election was conducted peacefully in his polling unit but complained that APC’s scores were reduced while those of the PDP were increased.
He said APC scored 160 and PDP got 19 in Kofar Alhaji Mukhtar Ahuwa Polling Unit of Yara Ward, but the score of APC was reduced to 65 and that of PDP was increased to 114.
PDP lead counsel, Jibrin Samuel Okutepa (SAN), asked the sixth respondents’ witness, Abdullahi Alkasim, to sign on a plain sheet of paper to authenticate the signature on the result sheet of his polling unit and consequently applied to tender it as exhibit.
Hearing on the matter has been adjourned till this Friday, August 25.