Enugu - The 17 electoral officers involved in the April 11 governorship election in Enugu State have maintained that it was 'credible, free and fair'.
They told the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Enugu on Wednesday that the election was not marred by irregularities as alleged by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Electoral Officer for Aninri Local Government Area, Eric Ani, said that the election was conducted in line with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) guidelines and regulations.
“When I received the election materials, sensitive and non-sensitive, I distributed them to the various polling units in the local government area,” he said.
“The card readers were used for accreditation of voters before the commencement of voting and those wards that had problems with their card readers were taken care of.
“When I got information from the presiding officers that the card readers were malfunctioning, I immediately deployed the ICT officer sent to us from the head office to address the problems,” he said.
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Ani denied tampering with the election result from the area, adding that he returned all the materials used for the election to the INEC headquarters in Enugu.
He submitted that the scores awarded to the political parties were lawful votes, pointing out that all the party agents were present during accreditation, voting, counting and announcement of results.
The electoral officer said the number of votes cast was not higher than the number of accredited voters except those with special cases in which incident forms were used.
“Our records and documentation showed that there are some cases of people whose finger prints were rejected by the card reader and incident form was issued to them,” he said.
The Electoral Officer for Igboeze South, Hyacinth Nwoba, who corroborated the submissions of Ani, said that apart from the problems encountered by the card readers, the governorship election was free, fair and peaceful.
Meanwhile, the counsel to APC, George Ogara, stopped the cross examination midway and urged the court to order the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Professor Chukwuemeka Onukogu, to provide all the materials used for the election.
The tribunal gave the party two hours to produce the REC.
The APC requested the tribunal to allow it to cross-examine all the 17 electoral officers on their conduct of the election.