28th September, 2011
The witness called by the Independent National Election Commission, INEC, during proceedings before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, Nigeriaâ€™s capital, on Tuesday admitted that there were 23 alterations in the result sheet he submitted to the electoral body after the polls last April.
The Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, is challenging President Goodlcuk Jonathanâ€™s victory in the 16 April presidential election, which CPC said was rigged in his favour.
During yesterdayâ€™s proceedings, the witness, who was the collation officer for INEC in Imo state during the presidential election, Professor Enoch Akobundu, a Deputy Vice Chancellor at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia state, Southeast Nigeria, admitted before the tribunal that there were some alterations in the result sheet he submitted to the commission after the election.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor, who was the only witness called by the electoral umpire in yesterdayâ€™s proceedings, told the panel that those alterations were however not counter-signed by him.
His admission came when CPCâ€™s lawyer, Mr. Abubakar Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, presented a result sheet marked exhibit 14 to Akobundu during cross-examination, and asked whether he could see some alterations, and his answer was â€œYes, there are some alterations on exhibit 14 and they were not counter-signed by me.â€
Professor Akobundu also told Justice Kumai Akaahs-led panel during cross-examination that he could not recollect whether the originals copies he submitted to INEC after the election were counter-signed by him.
â€œI do not recollect whether the originals I submitted to INEC were counter-signed by me, but those alterations were done before all the party agents who signed this result sheet.â€
The exhibit which is a copy of form EC8 with serial number 0041 000024, code 16, containing summary of result from local government areas/area councilsâ€™ collation, has 23 alterations.
The result sheet was signed by Nze Ozichukwu E. Chukwu (PDP), Dr. Vitalis Orikeze Ajumbe (ANPP), Ebere Ihekaonye (CPC) and Hon. Ekeh Collins (MPPP) as party agents.
Akobundu also confirmed that of the 1,426,479 votes cast in Imo state during the April 16 presidential polls, PDP scored 1,381,353 votes.
The university don also explained to the tribunal how he became the INEC collation officer instead of the Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Professor Onwualiri.
â€œThe Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Professor Onwualiri was supposed to be the collation officer for Imo governorship and the presidential election, but because his wife was a running mate to Ikedi Ohakim of the PDP, INEC dropped him and asked me to take over.â€
In his written statement on oath, Professor Akobundu deposed that â€œIn all the polling units the votes were counted in the full glare of all voters. The results were entered into the result sheets and the available party agents were given their copies and copies pasted at the polling units. I know what was collated at the state level was the true and accurate reflection of the votes cast and recorded in the respective polling units and wards.â€
He also deposed that all the accredited agents of the political parties on the day of the election had free access to him but none of them lodged any complaint to him of any malpractice with regards to the results of the election while the available and willing agents endorsed the final result sheet and copies of the result were given to them.
Further proceedings continue today.