The Delta State governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa yesterday opened his defence, in a shaky note as one of his star witness, Chief Festus Ovie Agas, under cross examination stated that card readers used for the governorship election worked well as against PDP claim to the contrary.

Mrs Amina Bala Zakari - Acting INEC Chairman 2015
Mrs Amina Bala Zakari – Acting INEC Chairman 2015

The All Progressive Congress (APC) and its gubernatorial candidate Olorogun O’tega Emerhor is challenging Okowa’s victory at the poll at the Delta State governorship election petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, the state capital.

At the resumed hearing of the matter today, Chief Festus Ovie Agas, who is the Secretary to the State Government, (SSG) been led by Okowa’s counsel, Dr. Alex Izyon (SAN), told the tribunal that from the election results from INEC records, that Okowa scored the highest votes cast during the election to emerge the winner of the poll in the state.

He also told the tribunal that he voted as a good citizen during the elections at Oteri town, in unit 1 of word 2/6 of Ughelli North local government area.

He added that although,  the card reader did not fail while he was been accredited to vote but that there were few instances where the card reader failed and the INEC officials were instructed  by their  superiors  to resort to  the use of manual accreditations through the  use of the voters register.

However, when he was asked by Emerhor’s counsel Chief Thompson Okpoko, if he was aware of INEC directive that where card reader failed to work, election should be postponed till the next day, he couldn’t give any tangible answer.

It would be recalled that during the testimony of two INEC officials – Assistant Director, ICT Department from Abuja headquarters; they said that “all documents tendered were duly certified by INEC, that the card reader has three (3) functions to with; identification of voters, verification of PVC holder and voter’s authentication on Election Day.”

The stated further that “the card readers recorded no sustained failure during the governorship election in Delta State and accredited numbers of voters as at April 29th was 709,000 and at the expiration of the shutting down of data upload, the final tally was 715,393.”

But on April 13, Delta State INEC had put the figure of accredited voters at 1,017,796, exceeding actual accreditation number revealed by the admitted report obtained from INEC central server.

However, announcing Senator Okowa as the winner of the election on April 13, the Returning Officer, Bio Nyananyo, said the PDP candidate polled 724,680 votes, which translated to 14,980 votes higher than actual number of accredited voters.

Further hearing on the matter has been fixed for 15th September, 2015.


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