A witness, Capt. Joe Agada (rtd), called by presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday testified before the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) sitting in Abuja, that the presidential election result sheet he signed as a polling agent of the PDP was done under duress.
Atiku and his party are challenging the declaration of President Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the presidential contest that held on February 25.
At Thursday’s proceedings, Atiku’s first witness, Agada informed the court that he served as the State Collation Agent of the PDP in Kogi State, during the general election, which was characterised by anomalies.
The witness told the court that he was forced to sign the result sheet of the presidential election by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Agada said that in over 20 polling units he visited, he observed how the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS,) machines were manipulated
According to him: “My Lords, apart from where I voted, which was at Ogene-Oforachi village, Ogugu Ward in Kogi State, I also served as my party’s State Collation Agent.
“I had a tag and a vehicle with a sticker that identified me as being on election duty. The exemption tag which was issued to me by INEC, allowed me to move around on the election day.
“I had the opportunity of visiting some highlighted polling units in my LGA, even though I did not visit all the polling units.”
While being cross-examined by counsel for the INEC, Alhaji Abdullahi Aliyu, SAN, the witness said it would be correct to he witnessed all the manipulations that took place in Kogi State during the election.
“My lords, I am a witness of truth. I did not visit all the polling units, but I was present when BVAS in over 20 PUs were being manipulated across the two senatorial zones that I visited.
“I may not be exact, but there are nothing less than 3,500 polling units in Kogi State.
“I spent between three to five minutes in each of the polling units that I visited,” the witness added.
Asked if agents of the PDP signed the result sheets, the witness, said: “Yes, our agents signed the Forms EC8A, EC8B and EC8C.
“But they were forced to sign the results, especially in Kogi state, because INEC said they would not give us copies unless we signed the documents.”
Answering questions from one of the lawyers that appeared for President Tinubu, Chief Akin Olujinmi, SAN, the witness, said the PDP had agents in all the polling units in the state.
Asked if as the State Collation Agent of the PDP, he signed the result sheet, he replied: “My lords, I was forced to sign the state collection result because without signing, they said they would deny me a copy to take to my party.
“I thereafter protested and also wrote a petition to INEC,” the witness told the court, even as he admitted that he served as State Collation Agent for the PDP in 2015 and also appeared as a witness in the 2019 presidential election dispute between Atiku and former President Muhammadu Buhari.
“In 2015, I refused to sign the result. But at that time, INEC did not deny me a copy to take to my party. But this year, the INEC man insisted that they would not give me a copy unless I signed the result.”