A Peoples Democratic Party witness at the ongoing hearing of the presidential election petition by the Presidential Election Tribunal, Mr. Peter Uzioma Obi has said that he and others were trained by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to electronically transmit the results of the February 23 polls.
Obi made this claim on Monday when he took the witness stand at the instance of the PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar who are challenging the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress at the polls.
Obi said he functioned as Registration Area Technician at ward level in Rivers State during the election after the electoral umpire trained him and others on how to transmit results of the poll.
Responding to a question from INEC’ s lawyer, Yunus Usman (SAN) under cross examination that he was not supposed to transmit results since he was not a presiding officer, Obi said:
“You are wrong sir. INEC trained us to transmit results. I was not a Presiding Officer. I was not a polling agent. I was a Registration Area Technician (RATECH) appointed by INEC. I was trained by INEC.”
Fielding more questions from Chief Wole Okanipekun (SAN), Buhari’s lawyer, Obi said he was not aware of the INEC guidelines for the presidential election, adding that there was a guidelines booklet issued for his role as a RATECH in charge of card readers.
The witness who maintained that he was not aware of Olanipekun’s claim that there was no designation in the INEC’ s guidelines as Registration Area Technician, revealed that he operated at the ward level with the State Technician as his superiors.
Obi further disagreed with APC’s lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) when the counsel said it was the duty of the Presiding Officer to accredit, verify, authenticate and collate results at the Poling Units.
“You are not entirely correct sir because we were told at the training that the Assistant Polling Officer 1 was in charge of accreditation,” Obi said.