The defeated APC candidate for Benue South Senatorial District, Mr Daniel Onjeh, has urged the National Assembly Elections Tribunal sitting in Makurdi to nullify the Sen. David Mark’s election and order for fresh polls.
Onjeh made the prayer before the tribunal on Sunday in Makurdi under cross examination by counsel representing the PDP and Mark.
He said the cancellation was imperative owing to wide scale electoral malpractices and irregularities that occurred during the polls.
Onjeh is also challenging the return of Mark by INEC on the grounds that the polls were marred by electoral malpractices and irregularities.
The petitioner had earlier tendered his written statement on oath and certified true copies of result sheets including several other electoral materials in furtherance of his case.
Responding to questions from Kenneth Ikooni, Mark’s counsel, Onjeh explained that the result forms produced by INEC never reflected the actual votes cast in the election.
He insisted that Mark did not win the election with 49,423 votes as declared by INEC, claiming that the results of the election were “concocted and falsified”.
He argued that “the irregularities, malpractices, allocation of votes, multiplication of figures, over-voting, over accreditation, concoction of results” were all reflected on the faces of the documents tendered and admitted in evidence.
Ikooni, however, dismissed petitioner’s claims of irregularities and malpractices, saying he was nowhere close to the polling units or collation centres.
He told the court that the agents whom petitioner claimed reported the matter to him were the ones eligible to testify hence he agreed they were all alive.
Counsel to PDP, Mr Chris Alechenu, and that of INEC, Mr Lawal Tengi, adopted the cross-examination done by Ikooni.
Also testifying before the panel, an expert on Research and Data Analysis, Mr Adeola Olayiwola, said his team observed irregularities in 700 polling units of the 1,015 polling units in the district.
Olayiwola said their findings included irregularities in card readers accreditation, discrepancies in the voter registers and noncompliance of the INEC presiding officers with the process and procedure laid down by INEC.
The expert witness further disclosed that ballots issued on Forms EC8A (1) were unaccounted.
However, Ikooni insisted that the ballots issued on forms EC8A (1) were accounted for since there was an attempt by the INEC officers to provide the number of used, unused, spoilt and rejected ballot papers on the forms.
The expert witness who agreed with Ikonne that there was an attempt to provide information on the ballot papers, however, alleged that the figures provided were not correct.
Ikooni accused Olayiwola of only focusing his analysis on the incorrect figures while avoiding where the process were correctly followed.
Ikooni, therefore, argued that the expert witness distorted facts in his analysis and made a comedy of errors because his team members were not qualified analysts.
He claimed that their names were not even included in his written disposition as co-analysts.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the second subpoenaed witness from INEC, Mr Daniel Abakpa, successfully tendered all the voters registers for 794 polling units in the nine affected local government areas being challenged by Onjeh in evidence.
In an oral application, counsel to Onjeh, Mr Tunji Oso, prayed the court for an adjournment to tender the remaining documents, which would be statements of invalid ballot papers in evidence and close their case.
The Tribunal granted the application and adjourned the matter to Aug. 10, for continuation of trial. (NAN)