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Published On: Wed, Jul 5th, 2023

Delta South: Witness Tells  Election Tribunal How Coalition Officer Cancelled Result Of  Warri South

JUDICIARY 3

LAGOS JULY 5TH (URHOBTODAY)-Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta South Senatorial District, Julius Takeme on Tuesday narrated how the collation officer for the February 25 senatorial election cancelled the result for Warri South Local Government Area.

Takeme who mounted the witness for the petitioners, told the three-member tribunal sitting in Asaba that the result was abruptly cancelled after the said collation officer received a call.

In the said petition, candidate of the PDP, Michael Diden is challenging the victory of Senator Joel Onowakpo-Thomas of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Relying on his witness statement on oath, Mr. Takeme said he was the agent of his party at the senatorial collation level, noting that he voted in Burutu before moving to Warri South and Isoko to monitor the election.

While being cross examined by counsel to the second respondent, Robert Emukperuo, Takeme stated that he was deprived of signing the result of the disputed election at the senatorial collation centre in Oleh.

For Warri South which is the most contentious local government during the election, Takeme said the exercise was conducted peacefully, adding that there was no dispute.

“There was no dispute until the collation officer went out to receive a call, and came back, drew a line on top of ward 06 in the presence of security agents and the parties.

“When he was asked why, he said he got a superior call from above to cancel it, and that since he had already recorded the scores for the parties, he had to draw the line over it,” he stated.

When confronted with exhibit 51 which showed that all the parties scored zero votes for Warri South, indicating that it was cancelled at the local government level, the witness said the recording of zero votes for the parties was an after thought, insisting that the unit results were already uploaded on the IReV.

For the cancellation of Bowen Ward 06 of Warri South where PDP scored 6,675 votes, Takeme faulted INEC for the seeming under accreditation of voters as recorded on the BVAS machine and ticked on the manual voter register.

Whereas BVAS recorded 813 as accredited voters, only 28 names were ticked on the manual voter register as duly accredited for the contentious ward during the election.

But Takeme blamed INEC for the short coming, saying that any accredited voters was given three ballot papers for Presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives, respectively.

He contended that that of the senatorial election should not be isolated since the accreditation was for the three categories of elections that held simultaneously.

After his testimony, the tribunal chaired by Justice Cathrine Ogunsola, adjourned the petition to July 10 for the respondents to open their case.

Sun News Online

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