The second witness at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, Peter Uzioma Obi, on Monday, said it was wrong to say the results of the February 23, 2019 presidential election were not transmitted electronically.
Obi took the witness stand at the instance of the Peoples Democratic Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who are by their petition challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress.
Obi, who said he functioned as Registration Area Technician at a ward level in Rivers State during the election, said the Independent National Electoral Commission trained him and others to transmit the results of the poll.
Obi, who earlier adopted his witness statement on oath which he deposed to on April 26, as his evidence-in-chief, said this while fielding questions from INEC’s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN), under cross-examination. “You are not supposed to transmit results because you are not a presiding officer,” Usman asked.
Responding, Obi said, “You are wrong sir. INEC trained us to transmit results. I was not a presiding officer. I was not a polling agent. I was a registration area technician appointed by INEC. I was trained by INEC.”
Fielding questions from Buhari’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), he said he was not aware of the guidelines used by the INEC for the presidential election, but added that there was a specific guidelines booklet issued for his roles as a RATECH.
“I was a RATECH in charge of the use of card reader,” he said. He said he was not aware of Olanipekun’s claim that there was no designation in the INEC’s guidelines as Registration Area Technician. He said he operated at the ward level with the Local Government Technician and the State Technician as his superiors. He added that he was not stationed at any polling unit during the election but visited the ones where his attention was needed. He said he visited seven polling units in the course of the election.
Fielding questions from APC’s lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Obi said the lawyer was not entirely correct to say that it was the duty of the Presiding Officer “to do accreditation, verification authentication, and collation at the Poling Units.” The witness said, “You are not entirely correct sir, because we were told at the training that the Assistant Polling Officer 1, was in charge of accreditation.”
Fielding more questions, he said, “I did not serve as APO1 and I did not serve as the Presiding Officer.” He said he did not act on his own, contrary to Fagbemi’s suggestion. “I have a letter to show that I was shortlisted.”