Thursday 29 June 2023


By: Valentine Adese (JP),

Four (4) Petitioners’ witnesses in Petition No: EPT/PL/GOV/03/2023, filed by, Dr. Nentawe Yilwatda and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) have opened up on alleged issues in the Wards they severed as Ward Collation Agents for the APC in the Plateau State governorship election that took place on 18th March, 2023.  .

The witnesses, Mai-chibi Abila, from Barkin-ladi, Jiks Luka Pam, who lives at Nafok, Barnabas Gyang, who lives at Kapis and Umar Aliyu, from Jos-South, under Cross Examination, by Ayo Adewale (Esq), P. A. Akubo (SAN), and Emeka Etiaba (SAN), Counsels to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents respectively, told the Tribunal that, they have issues with the results from particular polling units in their respective Wards.

The first witness called by the Petitioners’ Counsel, Prof. Olatoke (SAN) leading Edward Pwajok (SAN) among other Lawyers, Mr. Mai-chibi Abila, under Cross-examinations told the Tribunal that, he lives at Kura Falls in Barkin-ladi Local Government Area (LGA) of Plateau State and that, he went round polling units after the voting exercise on voting day. That he voted at Zakret Polling unit 006 and not polling unit 004.

He said the APC had agents in all the polling units under his Ward. He also disclosed that, the APC agent in polling unit 004 was Garson Ezekiel and that they were two agents of the party that day in the unit.

He said he is a card carrying member of the APC and a onetime Supervisory Councilor in Barkin-ladi Local Government Council (LGC) and that, his role is not limited to the Collation Center and as a Law abiding person, he is aware of the restriction of movement on the election day.

Adding that, “My party APC, appointed me in Kura Falls Registration Area and INEC trained me. I don’t have an appointment letter here, but a tag was issued to me for that purpose by INEC. As I speak, I have not seen the voters’ registers and the number of PVCs collected at the polling units. I was paid for the job I did. When election does not hold in a polling unit, such results should be canceled. As the Ward Collation Agent, I was given the polling units and Ward results and I can signed and can sign my signature again”.

Jiks Luka Pam, who lives at Nafok in Barkin-ladi, a farmer and who signed his statement on Oath on the 9th of April, 2023, said he signed the statement at the Registry of the Tribunal and he wants the Tribunal to use it as his evidence in the Petition.

He told the Tribunal that, he supervised some polling agents in his Ward particularly that of Bisichi Town Polling Unit code 011.

He said he voted at polling unit 008 at Mai-idontoro.

Adding that, “My party had an agent there, he is Ali Mohammed, he witnessed the voting exercise and there was over voting. I don’t have any document to show the number of over voting because, there was no collation there hence I don’t have the number of voters. There was BVAS in that unit and it was used.

“I have no other name than, Jiks Luka Pam and the initial is JLP, but I change sometimes for security purposes. Up to this day that I am speaking, I have not effected any change of name.

“Under Zabot Registration Area (RA), we have 27 polling units and I was not a polling unit agent. The party’s agent for Bisichi Town Polling Unit is alive.

“Collation of results took place at the Collation Center and my role does not start at the collation Center. My role as a returning agent also includes receiving agents at the Ward Collation Center and I have read some part of the Electoral Act.

“Before I voted, I was duly accredited by the Polling Officer (PO) with the BVAS machine. The exercise in my unit was satisfactory. I was appointed by INEC to monitor elections in the 27 polling units. I don’t have a letter, but my tag is here.

“I signed Exhibit P32 being the result. I confirm that there was over voting and I have told the Tribunal that, the result was canceled because of over voting and that is the truth. So, what I stated in my paragraph 3 is the truth. The number of votes cast is more than the number of people accredited. I don’t have any record here also to show that, the result was canceled.

Barnabas Gyang, whose initials are AA14, told the Tribunal under Cross Examinations that, he voted in polling unit 021 in Kapis and not 028 in Takum and that, Mr. Pam Shut, was the polling agent for APC at 028.

Barnabas said he was trained by INEC to be a Ward Collation Agent and by the reason of the training he is aware that, if election does not hold in a Unit, he is aware that INEC would document it that it does not hold, but he does not have any document from INEC to show that, but that the agent for the polling unit is still alive.

Adding that, “there are 30 polling units in Kapis Registration Area (RA). I am a card carrying member of APC. It was my party that engaged me with INEC as Ward Returning Agent and Supervisor. I don’t have the letter of appointment, but I have the tag here. The tag was given to me by APC, but I was trained by INEC. All the 30 polling units had agents trained by INEC and no other agents were appointed by APC.

“I have a problem of reading, but I supervised some of the agents in my Ward.

“All through my statement, I never referred to EC8B and also did not state the number of registered voters in Takum polling unit.

“Before I voted at my poling unit, I was duly accredited and I was happy with my polling unit except for Takum.

“My party issued us tags after INEC’s training. It is not true that, I don’t have the details of the polling unit. I supervised the agents and when there is a problem, they call me and I go there physically, especially to unit 028.

“At 028, I saw that election did not hold. It is in my statement that I signed with the Clark of the Tribunal. I signed the result because 028 bear no score for any party.

To close the day, Umar Aliyu, a trader, who lives in Jos-South LGA was called. He stated that, he made his statement on Oath on 13/May/2023.

He told the Tribunal that, he protested when the election exercise was taken over by another officer of INEC at the Collation Center at Naraguta “B”.

He said the electoral officer he referred to was appointed by INEC and that he has a duty to perform in line with the function and direction of INEC and that if he fails, INEC can change him on the same Election Day.

He also disclosed and confirmed that, polling unit results for 057 and 153 units were collated.

Adding that, “If anybody comes to say that there were no results that person is not correct.

“I was at the collation center when collation started and we were waiting for some results to come because Naraguta “B” has 216 polling units. As we were still waiting, an electoral officer came to intervene and stopped the collation. We were waiting for 14 polling units, which are the strong holds of the APC.

“This happened because, the Polling Unit Officers (POs) did not come with the BVAS and the results of the 14 polling units, but they were on their way.

“I am aware of the petition and I read it, but I did not read the 2nd Respondent’s reply.

‘The APC has agents in all the 216 polling units. I was at Naraguta “B” Registration Area’s collation center. I am not aware that, the PO disappeared with the 14 BVAS and electoral materials and up to the end of collation nobody came with the 14 BVAS and result sheets. I did not find out. I wrote to my party concerning the issue and it is left for my party to go further with the investigation.

The result of my Ward was signed on Sunday, the 19th of March, 2023, after 2 days. The EO came to intervene on Sunday at about 2-3pm. The collation of Ward results is based on capacity and Naraguta is having 216 polling units.

“I don’t know if INEC’s Naraguta “B” Ward Collation Officer is dead. But the Electoral Officer (EO) of Jos North Local Government, did not all me complete my job very well.  So, I did not sign because the EO sent me out because I was waiting for the 14 BVAS”.

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