The Plateau State Gubernatorial Election Petition Tribunal has been told by witnesses how electoral officials and agents of the All Progressives Congress allegedly stole the mandate of Jeremiah Useni and the Peoples Democratic Party in the election.
More than 30 witnesses from Jos North, Wase, Kanam, and Qua’an Pan Local Government Areas at different times narrated how the elections were allegedly rigged in favour of the state Governor, Simon Lalong, in their various polling units, electoral wards, and Local Government Areas.
Among some of the issues, they testified on included: arbitrary change of results, wrong addition of figures, forging of signatures of PDP agents and threatening PDP agents with death if they refused to sign fake results, among others.
The legal team of the opposition party assembled 21 witnesses who claimed that they saw the election processes from start to finish in their various polling units.
Andrawus Semshak of Chigwang Polling Unit and Simdi Dafel of Dyis polling unit all in Pankshin LGA, in their testimonies in chief, pointed to various forms of irregularities ranging from over-voting, alterations of figures to voting without proper accreditation of voters.
Andrawus said he was threatened with death and forced to sign a defective result sheet.
The only woman who testified, Nendirmwa Sunday, from Vel also in Pankshin Local Government Area, served as PDP agent during the governorship election.
She stated that the entries by the Independent National Electoral Commission were different from what was witnessed on the election day, she added, “Despite my complaint that the card reader which had accredited less than 200 voters had developed a fault, and we should not waste our efforts on manual registration, INEC officers carried on with the rest of the voting by simply ticking names without the proper accreditation and allowing people to vote.”
“I did lodge a verbal complaint to INEC officials but they did not give me any attention, so I kept it reserved for this day.”
Other witnesses, who also testified before the Tribunal, were: Boniface Dafub from Yadat in Chip District and Dagong Peter of Kapil in Chip all in Pankshin LGA.
While they alleged over-voting at their Polling Units, and the absence of security officers at the venue of the elections, Peter said he saw many ballot papers being illegally brought to his polling unit.
When witnesses from Qua’an Pan Local Government Area mounted the witness box, they reeled out a litany of electoral irregularities they had individually observed on the election day.
Yahaya Francis of Ungwan Dorowa polling unit of Kurgwi alleged over-voting, a faulty card reader, stressing that he tried to get the votes recounted but was ignored.
Julius Augustine of Babban Padama, also in Kwande, posited that, “the alterations on INEC foem EC8A result duplicate sheet were made after he had signed the initial results”.
Genesis Chavoel of Kayarda in Namu and Danladi Sabo Danglat of Ungwan Tofa in Kwande, all in Qua’an Pan LGA, alleged over-voting and manipulation of results to favour the APC.
However, a witness, Dasaam Mark, a trader who served as the PDP agent in Nkum Polling Unit, fought off the combined force of the three counsel representing INEC, Simon Bako Lalong and APC, who made very determined attempts to get him to agree to results said to have been tampered with in his unit.
He told the tribunal, “I complained to INEC officials about the fake results being inserted on the result sheets but they refused to listen.
“How can they now expect me to read out altered figures which I can hardly see with my naked eyes? He asked.
“I cannot identify what they have inserted on the result sheets. There is a problem there”, he explained.
Mark maintained this stout posture until the counsels’ timing for cross-examination expired.