The Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and his party, on Tuesday, called 9 witnesses who testified in his petition praying the presidential election petition tribunal to void the election of February 23 on grounds of non-compliance with electoral laws, violence, thuggery, non accreditation of voters and non qualification of Buhari to contest the election.
Naija News reports that the witnesses which included President Muhammadu Buhari’s kingsmen disputed the return of the President by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the presidential election at the presidential election petition tribunal which resumed hearing on Tuesday, July 9.
The witnesses maintained that the presidential poll was characterized by rigging, allocation of votes to parties, use of thuggery to cause mayhem, non accreditation of voters, over-voting, cancellation and alteration of election results as well as the use of police to intimidate, harass and coerce to do their biddings on the election day in the three states of Katsina, Kebbi and Niger where they voted and monitored the election.
Naija News understands that the nine witnesses told the Justice Mohammed Garba tribunal that political thugs were used by the APC to chase away PDP agents thereby making some of the agents not to sign some result sheets.
The nine (9) witnesses were led in their evidence in chief by Abubakar’s lawyer. The witnesses are Tanko Birchi from Niger State, Salisu Yusuf Maijigiri, PDP State Chairman, Katsina State, Salisu Garba Funtua, Abdusalam Idris, Aliu Umar Ustas, Ibrahim Musa, Audu Sanni, Balarabe Usman, and Umar Alhaji.
One of the witnesses, Salisu Yusuf Maijigiri, who is the chairman of Katsina State PDP told the tribunal that 1, 555, 633 votes credited to Buhari was not the true reflection of what transpired on the election day, maintaining that the figure was just allocated.
Maijigiri alleged that agents of PDP in the 34 local government areas of the state were chased away while INEC ad-hoc staff were substituted with untrained ones used to produce fake results in the state. Maijigiri insisted that PDP won in Katsina State with 905,000 votes while APC came second with 872,000 votes from the result collated by his party.
Another witness Salisu Garba Funtua alleged over voting because card readers were abandoned. He further claimed that election was canceled in several places due to the failure of card readers.
Under cross-examination by Olanipekun, Funtua maintained that the election was not free or fair because of over-voting and other malpractices.
Another witness, in his own testimony, Abdulsalam Idris, told the tribunal that Abubakar and PDP never conceded defeat to Buhari and APC because the February 23 election cannot be called an election in the full meaning of democracy.
Another witness, who was a local government collation officer for Atiku, Aliu Umar Ustas, alleged that police connived with APC members to cheat the PDP. Under cross-examination by counsel to APC, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, the witness emphasized that his party collated detailed results and that the results are being kept with the party.
In his own evidence, a lawyer and businessman, Tanko Birchi, admitted that he was not physically present in all polling units but received complains in writing and verbal on the irregularities that characterized the election and that the complaints have been delivered to the party national secretariat.
Responding to a question from the APC lawyer, Birchi said that he heard that Buhari was a General in the Nigerian Army and that he was in primary school between 1983 and 1985 when Buhari was a military Head of State.