Delta State election tribunal enters crucial stage

Posted by Osteen Oyibode, Asaba | 30 August 2015 | 4,599 times

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As the Delta State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba entered crucial stage, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) told the court that card readers were substantially used during the governorship election in the state.

Head of INEC Software Developer, Systems Design and Analysis, of the information Unit, Abuja, Mrs. Nnenna Essien, made  the  disclosure in Asaba during a cross examination conducted by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) counsel, Mr. Timothy Kehinde (SAN), at the resumed hearing of the petition at the tribunal on Saturday.

Essien also revealed that due to occasional systems failure during the election, the information unit could not capture some data from the field officers that used card readers, hence the instruction that the voters register should be used where card readers failed.

Essien , who was under subpoena  by the tribunal to give evidence at the trial said “it will be wrong to say that card readers were not used in Delta State, card readers were also used at the collation centres, the collation centers also look at the register  to cross check  the result  of the form EC8A.

Three petitions are before the Delta State three-man elections petitions tribunal headed by Justice Nasiru Gunmi, challenging the declaration of Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the April 11 governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Three petitions were filed by Chief Great Ogboru of Labour Party, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Mr. Paul Isamade of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN).

Ogboru is contending, among others, that card readers were not used during the governorship election that produced Governor Okowa as the winner, saying the election was rigged with the use of manual register.

Essien said: “The design is that the card reader must identify the card, the bearer of the card and other information about the voter, we did not make provision for swapping of PVC on the card reader, no provision for the introduction of external scanner into finger print into the card reader.”

She further revealed that the INEC server (information collation center) was short down six weeks after the governorship election in Delta State was conducted following the instruction from former INEC boss, Professor Atahiru Jega.

“We did get  all  the transited  data in one day  after the election,  the servers were short down on the 25 of May 2015, six weeks after the governorship election in Delta State,  I am  not aware that data were still being transmitted after  the server has been short down, and we do not have records of  failed or  nil data transmission  in  our system.”

She said about 1.9 million  PVCs were collected  in Delta State, adding that, 4,878 polling units were created in the state, including voting points, disclosing that about  2.3 million voters were  recorded  in the state.  

Shortly after Essien stepped out of the witness box, Justice Gunmi ordered Ogboru’s counsel, Mr. Robert Emukpoeruo to call into the witness box, LP second witness for another examination, cross examination and re-examination.

After a brief adjournment to enable the expected witness to mount the box, Emukpoeruo raised the alarm that a fresh statement of INEC witness has just been served on him, and urged the tribunal to adjourn to Monday to enable him study the document.

That generated another round of objection from the counsels of Okowa, PDP and INEC, Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN), Mr. Timothy Kehinde (SAN) and Onyechi Ikpazu (SAN) respectively.

Ikpazu who appeared for the first time in the matter alongside Mr. Dodo (SAN), told the tribunal that they cannot afford to wait till next Monday for the continuation of trial, saying that INEC has assembled all the needed document they want for the trial.

He told the tribunal Chairman that already, ten trucks bearing INEC documents are standing- by and ready to be moved into the court room for examination, adding that any further delay will not be in the interest of the parties in the petition.

After listening to the arguments of the counsel to the various parties, Justice Gunmi adjourned the matter to Monday, September 4, for continuation of trial.



Source: News Express

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