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INEC took delivery of ballot papers 40 days after election, says Atiku

Posted by From GODWIN TSA Abuja on 2008/02/12 | Views: 320 |

INEC took delivery of ballot papers 40 days after election, says Atiku

Hearing into the consolidated petitions by two presidential candidates before the election tribunal came to an end on Tuesday with shocking revelations to the effect that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) took delivery of the ballot papers used for the April polls on June 1, 2007, 40 days after the conduct of the election.

Hearing into the consolidated petitions by two presidential candidates before the election tribunal came to an end on Tuesday with shocking revelations to the effect that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) took delivery of the ballot papers used for the April polls on June 1, 2007, 40 days after the conduct of the election.

It was further revealed that the Chairman of the INEC, Professor Maurice Iwu instructed the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Limited (NSPMC) on April 17, 2007 to produce the ballot papers for the election without serial numbers and without photographs.

These revelations came as the tribunal refused to admit in evidence INEC’s final report on the conduct of the April general elections prepared by its Chairman, Professor Iwu as prayed by Atiku’s counsel, Professor Alfred Kasumu (SAN).

Meanwhile, the tribunal has adjourned indefinitely to deliver judgment on the petitions brought by former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Action Congress (AC) and General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).

They are contesting the result of the presidential election that produced the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates, President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua and vice president Goodluck Jonathan, on the grounds that it was not conducted in substantial compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2006.

Accordingly, the petitioners are praying the tribunal to nullify the entire election and order for fresh polls on the grounds of the non-compliance to the Electoral Act.
These revelations were unearthed by counsel to Atiku, Professor Kassumu while addressing the tribunal on the controversies surrounding the source of the ballot papers, the format of the ballot paper, and the quantity of the ballot paper that was used during the election.

To puncture the claim by the INEC that it was the ballot papers which were printed by the NSPMC that were used for the election, Kasumu referred the tribunal to the delivery note issued to the INEC Chairman in respect of printed ballot papers for the election.

In the said document titled “Goods delivery Note” with reference No. GDN A006389 and delivered to “The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Zambezi Crescent, Maitama-District, Abuja—FCT” for the printing of the ballot papers, the job was received on June 1, 2007, 40 clear days after the election.

It was further revealed that the INEC Chairman did approve and instructed the NSPMC to print the ballot paper without serial numbers and perforation and to also print them without photographs.
In two separate notes to NSPMC on April 17, 2007, the INEC boss had written, “Approved to be produced without numbers and perforation.” The second note reads “reproduced without photographs at least 65 million.”

Armed with these documents, Atiku’s counsel urged the tribunal to nullify the presidential election, which he described as the worst in the annals of Nigeria’s history.
Kasumu said, “this election stands out clearly as the worst in the annals of the history of Nigeria. It cannot be justified judging from the controversies surrounding the printing of ballot papers.
“Section 45 of the Electoral Act, 2006 clearly specifies what a ballot paper is. But what we have in this case is a ballot paper that is not serialized, without duplicate, no photograph, amongst others. This is clearly a fundamental violation of the Electoral Act, especially when Iwu had directed that they should not bear pictures, serial numbers and duplicate.”

Besides, he told the tribunal that the result of the elections was announced on April 23, 2007 when results were only collated from 13 states of the Federation.
He also told the tribunal that it was not the INEC Chairman that collated the result of the presidential election as prescribed by law.

But his bid to tender the final report of INEC on the conduct of the polls did not receive the blessings of the tribunal, which dismissed the application.

Tribunal Chairman, Justice James Ogebe in his ruling held that it was too late in the day for Atiku to tender the report at the address stage of the proceedings.

His ruling was in agreement with the objections raised by Counsel to President Yar’ Adua, Chief Wole Olanikpekun and Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), counsel for INEC.
Responding, counsel to INEC, Chief Agabi urged the court to dismiss the two petitions as the petitioners have failed to prove that there was substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act to warrant the cancellation of the election.

It was also his submission that both the petitions as well as the reliefs south therein are vague and amounted to no issue.

In his argument against the petition filed by Buhari, Agabi told the court that the petition cannot stand because his party, the ANPP and his running-mate, Chief Ume Ezeoke had withdrawn from the petition.
The INEC counsel argued that there are 36 states in the country and the Federal Capital Territory but the petition was filed in respect of only four states. He added that there are no witness depositions in the petition in respect of 31 states.

He said that the petitioner is challenging elections in 11 states out of the 36 states.
Agabi said, “Even if election were to be cancelled in the 11 states, the election would still be able to stand. Apart from the fact that those irregularities have not been proved; they have not been attributed to the 5th and 6th respondent (INEC and Professor Maurice Iwu). The irregularities must be proved. If they are not proved, they amount to nothing.

“The law insists on substantial compliance not total or perfect compliance. The law says that if the elections are bad, it must be obvious. If you (the petitioner) have to tender 30,000 documents, it means that the lection was well documented.

“A case is only said to be good if it is well presented. There is no case before this tribunal, the petitioner has not presented his case well. I urge this court to dismiss this petition.”
In his argument, counsel to Yar’Adua, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN said that the witnesses in the petition are mainly from Imo State.

He said that the witnesses couldn’t give a vivid account of what happened in other states.
“An election of this magnitude can’t be voided on the evidence of hearsay. No man is omnipotent. They are not God. They did not use any periscope to know what happened in other parts of the country,” he noted.

On the issue of indictment of Yar’Adua by the government of Abia State during the tenure of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State, Olanipekun said the indictment was not certified.
Counsel to Buhari, Chief Mike Ahamba SAN, in his reply to the argument of Agabi and Olanipekun said that he complained about the conduct of the election in the 36 states and not just in 11 states.
He said the main issue of the case before the court is whether results of the elections were arbitrarily assigned.

“Results were arbitrarily assigned without election. Where a final result manifests inconsistencies in 28 states out of 36 states, the election cannot stand. The two results released by INEC in the election are totally inconsistent.

“There are results written on the 31st of April, which is not on INEC calendar. There are also other results dated on other dates.

“On the white paper issued by the Abia State government, I submit that this court has no power to look into it. This court has no jurisdiction to look into it. There has been no court judgment setting it aside.
“INEC has offered no explanation for the inconsistencies recorded in their documents before this court. I urge this court to allow our petition because the election was badly conducted.”

In his argument against the petition of Atiku, Olanipekun said no person has complained of being disenfranchised, adding that no single used ballot paper has been tendered to show how ballot papers were arbitrarily thumb-printed. “No single snatched ballot boxes have been tendered. AC name and logo are on the specimen of the ballot papers. The petitioner knew election would hold and it took place.
“The petitioner scored 100% in Lagos and did not challenge it. They are challenging the election where Yar”Adua won almost 100%. Atiku wants the election to be decided on the whims, caprices and sentiments of the observers.”

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Comments (9)

Kim Worley(Greeley, Colorado, US)says...

I heard this in a song and had no idea what it meant. Googled it and this came up. Very Cool. ????????????????

Obinna(Newark Nj)says...

I want to know more meaning and significant of this name obidike in igboland

Olusola Okhiria Nee Sodunke(Newport, Newport, UK)says...

This is a great piece of history, which is dear to our hearts as people and very much appreciated.

Many thanks to the people who worked hard in the past and those who are still making efforts to keep the institution.

The labour is obviouly worth it. We are proud of you all.

A lot still to be done, with the motivation of the champions of this course, others will follow as well to maintain the institution

May God continue to keep the edifice for development of future generations to the glory of God and the benefits of our fatherland.

Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...