The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday, presented his first witness at the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja.
Atiku, who came second in the February presidential election, is challenging the victory of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 25th February election.
Mr Tinubu was sworn in Monday as Nigeria’s president, while three petitioners, including Atiku, continue to pursue their separate cases to challenge his victory.
Led in his evidence-in-chief by Chris Uche, Atiku’s lawyer, the witness, Joe Agada, informed the five-member panel of the court headed by Haruna Tsammani that there were rampant cases of manipulation of electoral records by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the February poll.
Mr Agada, a retired army captain, served as PDP’s State Collation agent in Kogi for the presidential election.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mr Atiku’s legal team tendered the presidential electoral documents, including those relating to local governments in Kogi State, on Wednesday.
Mr Agada said he monitored the polls in 20 polling units across two senatorial districts in Kogi.
Under cross-examination by INEC’s lawyer, Abdullahi Aliyu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Agada said Bimodal Voters Accreditation System “BVAS machines were manipulated during the conduct of the (presidential) election.”
“I was forced to sign the collated result sheets in Lokoja,” Mr Agada added.
He explained that he signed the electoral documents under duress without further explaining the situation.
Mr Agada is one of the 100 witnesses Atiku intends to call in support of his petition at the court.
The electoral documents earlier tendered by Mr Atiku’s team comprise printouts of data from BVAS machines and result sheets tendered before the court.
But Mr Tinubu and the electoral umpire objected to the admissibility of the documents.
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They did not disclose any rationale for their objections but promised to do so at the close of arguments in the petition.
Lawyers to parties in the petitions had pledged not to object to certified true copies of electoral documents from INEC. However, the respondents have opposed the admissibility of many of the electoral records.
Atiku is challenging the outcome of the presidential election over allegations of INEC’s manipulation of the electoral process in favour of Mr Tinubu.
But the legal battle to overturn Mr Tinubu’s victory continues at the court.
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