During the cross-examination at the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja, Joe Agada, the first witness of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), made serious allegations regarding the February 25 presidential election in Kogi State. Agada, a retired captain, claimed he was coerced into signing the result sheets as the Collation Officer for the state.
Responding to questions from the counsel representing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Abdullahi Aliyu (SAN), Agada confirmed that he had visited several polling units in different local government areas on election day. He also affirmed that the manipulation of ballot papers, which he mentioned in his witness deposition, took place in his presence.
Furthermore, Agada asserted that he witnessed the alleged manipulation of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in Kogi State. These claims raise serious concerns about the integrity and fairness of the election process.
When the lawyer asked him: “You were present while the BVAS devices were also manipulated?” the witness responded: “Yes, in not less than 20 polling units; I visited across two senatorial districts.”
In court, the witness from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) testified that he spent approximately three to five minutes in the areas that were affected. Additionally, Agada made a serious allegation that he was compelled by officials from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to sign the results at the state level against his will.
He said, “I was forced to sign, which I protested because without signing, I was going to be denied the copy for my party.”
However, he acknowledged not mentioning this incident in his witness deposition.
During cross-examination, the witness also revealed that he had previously refused to sign similar documents when faced with a similar incident, as there was no threat of denying him a copy for his party.
The Ogun State Collation Officer, Solarin Adekunle, testified that he refused to sign the collated results in protest against electoral malpractices. Adekunle alleged that the election results had been inflated, leading him to decline signing the result sheets.
Likewise, the third witness, Uzoma Abonta, informed the court that irregularities and non-compliance with the election rules marred the election.
In addition, the court heard the case of the Labour Party (LP) and its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, who is also challenging the outcome of the presidential election. The LP and Obi presented bundles of electoral documents from six states, which were admitted as evidence by the tribunal.
Although the LP’s legal team, led by Chief Awa Kalu (SAN), indicated that they would present the Certified True Copies of documents from 18 states, they could only tender documents from six states before their time in court expired.
The result sheets submitted were from Rivers, Benue, Cross River, Niger, Osun, and Ekiti states.
Further proceedings for Obi and Atiku’s petitions were adjourned until today (Friday).