Atiku Abubakar’s witness on Friday told the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) defrauded the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February election.
Atiku, who was PDP’s standard-bearer in the recent presidential election, is challenging President Bola Tinubu’s victory.
Mr Tinubu clinched Nigeria’s presidency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
At resumed proceedings on Friday evening, the witness, Nicholas Msheliza, told the five-member panel of the court chaired by Haruna Tsammani that the alleged manipulation of the election against Atiku was perpetrated at the Ward Collation Centres in Borno State.
Mr Msheliza, led in his evidence-in-chief by Atiku’s lawyer, Chris Uche, said PDP agents were manhandled and chased out of the collation centres.
Specifically, he narrated that after PDP agents fled the collation centres, the election results were altered in favour of Mr Tinubu and the APC.
Mr Msheliza accused officials of the electoral commission of violating the Electoral Act by failing to transmit the election results electronically as it had promised.
In his witness statement on oath dated 21 March, the witness described the alleged manipulation of the polls as “real disaster” that characterized the presidential election.
Responding to Mr Tinubu’s lawyer, Akin Olujimi’s cross-examination, Mr Msheliza said the election was held with substantial peace. But he added that Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machines were bypassed at Ward Collation Centres where results were falsified.
In another response to Mr Olujinmi’s enquiry, Mr Msheliza said he did not name polling units in his statement on oath where agents of PDP were prevented from performing their functions.
Another witness, Sani Kutigi, told the court that he withheld his signature to result sheets due to alleged discrepancies in the recorded votes at the polling units and those entered into the election forms.
Mr Kutigi, a former member of the House of Representatives from Niger State, said he voted and acted as the State PDP Collation Agent.
He alleged that the actual results recorded at the polling units were not the ones recorded in the Form EC8D; hence, his refusal to endorse the falsified results.
Under cross-examination by APC’s lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi, a SAN, Mr Kutigi said he did not indicate the actual figures at the polling units in his witness statement on oath due to lack of space.
The sixth witness for Atiku, Silas Onu, alleged that PDP agents were harassed at polling units while some were arrested and incarcerated at police stations while performing their duties at the collation centres in Ebonyi State.
Mr Onu, a lawyer, said election results falsifiers had a field day when PDP agents fled the polling units to avoid being killed by hoodlums sanctioned by state agents to cause mayhem.
Following the request of Atiku’s lawyer, Mr Uche, the court adjourned further proceedings until 5 June.
Earlier, on Thursday, three witnesses testified for Atiku.
They all alleged various forms of electoral fraud perpetrated by INEC in favour of Mr Tinubu.