Testimonies by the Independent National Electoral Commission at the Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Ibadan have revealed that the April 14 governorship election in three local governments in Ogbomoso was fraught with malpractices.
Startling revelations from the exhibits obtained from INEC, which were kept in the custody of the tribunal, suggested that results of the election in Ogo Oluwa, Ogbomoso South, Ogbomoso North and Ibarapa East were falsified.
This came to the fore on Wednesday at the resumed hearing of the petition by the governorship candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
Ajimobi is challenging the result of the April 14 poll, which was won by Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala of the Peoples Democratic Party.
On hand to witness the marathon session were the ANPP candidate, his wife, Florence, and supporters of the party, as well as some PDP adherents.
The Head, Operations Department of INEC, Mr. Olubunmi Ariyo, who was led in evidence-in-chief by counsel to Ajimobi, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), had admitted that some results were either ?re-written, altered or cancelled.?
He used the three words at different times while admitting that the results entered for the PDP candidate were altered on the result sheets.
When asked to produce the list of polling agents and presiding officers in all the polling units, the INEC official said they were not readily available.
He said the list of the presiding officers was in the custody of INEC, while he told the tribunal that the commission had no record of the party agents and the specimen signatures of the presiding officers.
From the totality of the evidence given by the INEC chief, it was discovered that only the PDP agent and presiding officers signed some of the results in dispute, while some presiding officers signed without including their names.
The evidence suggested that the electoral body also violated some sections of the Electoral Act 2006, as exemplified by the non-accreditation of voters before casting their votes in some units.
Ariyo admitted that some voters were accredited in red and black inks by the way of ticking their names on the voter register in some units in contravention of the Electoral Act that prescribed blue ink.
At pains to defend the non-accreditation of voters in some units as shown on the register, Ariyo repeatedly responded ?no ticking? to questions posed to him on whether or not the voters were accredited.
Asked by the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Sidi Bage, to explain the import of no ticking, Ariyo responded, ?No ticking means no ticking,? which led the court to erupt in laughter.
At Ayegun Prmary School II, the witness admitted that there was cancellation in the column for total votes cast, which was not countersigned by the returning officer.
It was also established through the witness that the total votes recorded for the PDP in some wards far outnumbered the number of registered voters.
The evidence by the INEC official, as reinforced through the exhibits, indicated that the ANPP was shortchanged in the process of transferring results of election from one form to another.
An agent of the PDP, one D. A. Awujoola was discovered to have signed on results sheet as the agent of the party in Ward 8 and 9, Ogbomoso South.
Overwhelmed by the number of the results not singed by other party agents apart from the PDP, the HOD explained that it was usual for defeated party agents to refuse to sign result sheets.
For instance, out of the 19 units in Ward 2, Alapata, Ogbomoso South, party agents only signed in four units, while no party agent signed in Unit 2, Ward 2.
At Ibarapa East, while 4, 400 votes were recorded for the ANPP on one of the forms, the votes became 440 on the summary of results form from LG to LG.
In Ward 8, Unit 1 of Ogbomoso North, which had 245 registered voters, 568 votes were recorded as total votes cast.
So far, the tribunal had admitted 109 documents as exhibits.
The matter had been adjourned to Thursday (today) to enable Akintola to continue to lead the INEC witness in evidence, before the witness will face counsel to Alao-Akala in cross- examination.
Source: The Punch