The National Collation Agent of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the February 25 presidential election, Senator Dino Melaye on Friday in Abuja, told the Presidential Election Petition Court that election collation errors by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, led to the declaration of President Bola Tinubu.
Melaye informed the court that he left the National Collation Centre at the International Conference Centre in Abuja when the alleged deliberate errors became unbearable and intolerable to him.
Senator Melaye testified as a star witness for former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, whose joint petition with the PDP seeks nullification of Tinubu’s declaration as winner of the 2023 presidential election.
Led in his evidence-in-chief by Atiku’s lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche SAN, the witness said that he refused to sign the final collated results so as not to be part of the corruption and malpractices that allegedly engulfed the collation exercise.
Melae, who is the second star witness in the hearing of the petition, insisted that the results upon which INEC acted to declare Tinubu the winner of the February 25 presidential election “were wrongly computed by INEC”, adding that, “I didn’t endorse it, because I don’t endorse fraud.”
He also told the court that, aside from himself, many agents of the PDP in the presidential election did not also sign the results at various levels.
While responding to questions from Tinubu’s lawyer, Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, the witness argued that “failure of transmission of what has been recorded is an infringement of the law.”
He pointed out that electronic transmission of results from the polling units to the IReV is a very important aspect of the election process, arguing that without the IReV, the election circle cannot be said to have been completed.
“Results are transmitted from polling units before you move to the ward collation centre”, he explained, adding that what was brought was at variance with what transpired at the states level.
Meanwhile, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, on Friday tendered additional video evidence to support claims that INEC assured electronic transmission of the results of the 2023 general elections.
The video clip containing live speeches of INEC’s Chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmood, was tendered by a subpoenaed witness and staff of Daar Communication Ltd, AIT, Mrs Ijeoma Osamor.
The video evidence contained in a flash drive, which was admitted as an exhibit, was also played in the open court. It showed a live broadcast of the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood, reassuring Nigerians of the commitment of the commission to transmit the election results in real-time.
However, during cross-examination by APC’s lawyer, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, the witness denied knowledge of any press conference by INEC where the commission clarified to Nigerians that the election can no longer be transmitted electronically.
Meanwhile, hearings in both petitions have been adjourned till Monday, June 19.