The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal was shocked Wednesday when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) attempted to explain why it failed to transmit results of the Presidential Election while transmitting those of the National Assembly.
Both elections were held same day and time; however, INEC transmitted the National Assembly results immediately on BVAS but held back those of the Presidential Election.
An ad-hoc staff of the Commission, who served as a Presiding Officer in the February 25, 2023, presidential election, under cross-examination at the tribunal, admitted that the Commission failed in its duty to transmit the results on BVAS.
The witness, who was subpoenaed to testify by the PDP and Atiku Abubakar, said he could successfully transmit the results of the Senatorial and House of Representatives elections held the same day but had to transmit the presidential result manually.
Identified by the initial EOF, a copy of his appointment letter as INEC presiding officer for Polling Unit 017, Ward 3 in Abia North Local Government Area, was tendered before the court and admitted as an exhibit. In his testimony, the witness repeatedly stated that he and others were trained on how to transmit results.
According to him, after sorting and counting the votes, he duly entered it into form EC8A, which was signed by party agents and the police and later took a snapshot of it, but could not transmit it using the BVAS, and had to deliver it manually to the ward collation centre.
Under cross-examination by INEC counsel, the witness admitted that he was trained on offline transmission as well, which involved uploading the image of the result sheet even when there was no network, adding that by the training given to them, the process would automatically be completed when there was network in the BVAS device.
Under cross-examination by lawyers for Bola Tinubu and the APC, the witness admitted that there was no issue in his polling unit and that he was happy with the exercise since the police were present to guard them.
Responding to further questioning, the witness also confirmed that the Labour Party won the election in his polling unit.
The testimony of the subpoenaed witness was earlier delayed after the respondents raised objections on the ground that their statements were not front-loaded, leading to a heated argument between the petitioner’s counsel and the respondents’ counsel.
In resolving the issue, the Justices decided to reserve the ruling until the final judgment.