by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna.
At least a total of 316 Bimodal Voters’ Accreditation System (BVAS) machines presented before Justice Victor Oviawe-led panel have subsequently been admitted as exhibits at the governorship tribunal sitting in Kaduna, at the resumed hearing on Tuesday.
The BVAS machines were admitted as exhibits, based on the subpoena served on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to bring them before the court, the said items as applied by the 1st and 2nd petitioners, Hon. Isa Ashiru and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), through their counsel, Samuel Atung (SAN).
INEC representative, Yusuf Zubairu, who was at the court on behalf of the Commission, made a written statement on oath before the Registrar of the tribunal to present BVAS machines of 19 Local Government Areas of the state.
In his deposition before the court, the Commission was subpoenaed “on Duces Tecum (to tender) and Duces Tecum Ad Testificadum (to tender and testify) and demonstrate how the machines were used to collate election results in the state at the last gubernatorial polls.
However, Zubairu, who is a staff of INEC at the ICT/ Voters’ Research Department, testified that the results on the Irev was the true reflection of the votes cast during the 18th March, 2023 gubernatorial election in the state.
Meanwhile, one of the prayers of Ashiru and his party before the tribunal was that they won the election, going by the Irev results, as alleged.
Zubairu, who is a witness, also added that the BVAS machines could not be tampered with, either before, during or after the election, just as he explained to the court that each machine has its unique identity numbers.
The witness, while demonstrating, by using one of the machines, told the tribunal that Polling Unit 050 of Makera Ward in Kaduna South LGA had 715 total voters register, but 107 voters were accredited.
Earlier in his defence before the tribunal granted the application of the 1st and 2nd petitioners’ counsel for the witness to demonstrate by using the BVAS machines, Chief Duro Adeyele (SAN), who is the counsel to the Kaduna State Governor, Dr. Uba Sani, objected to the admissibility of the BVAS machines through the witness.
The counsel also argued that the witness’ deposition did not state that the witness (Yusuf Zubairu) would open and demonstrate the BVAS machines before the tribunal. “Demonstration of BVAS’ machine is not in the witness’ statement,” the counsel emphasised.
In his counter, the Ashiru and PDP’s counsel said that the Commission was subpoenaed to (Duces Tecum Ad Testificandum) tender and demonstrate the machine before the court. The court adjourned the case to 26th July, 2023, for the continuation of the hearing of petition.