Asaba - An official of INEC on Tuesday told the Election Petition Tribunal in Asaba that the commission ensured strict compliance with electoral guidelines in the conduct of the last April gubernatorial polls in the state.
The official was testifying in a petition filed by the APC governorship candidate in the election , Chief O'tega Emerhor, against the declaration of the PDP candidate, Ifeanyi Okowa, as the winner.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, Mercy Ehikhametalo, a staff member of INEC, who appeared as a witness, told the three-man tribunal that electoral guidelines were substantially complied with by the electoral body during the election.
The witness, who was being cross-examined by counsel to the APC, Chief Thompson Okpoko (SAN), said that card readers were used during the election.
She said about 67.7 per cent of data from the card readers were uploaded unto the INEC server in Abuja, before the server was shutdown.
Ehikhametalo also told the tribunal that INEC experienced some challenges with the use of the card readers during the elections, due to poor network from service providers.
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She said the card readers had pin cards from Abuja and could not be manipulated, adding that because of network failure the card readers could not upload data to the server in Abuja.
The INEC staff insisted that during the last April governorship election, neither the contestants nor the political parties tampered with the card readers.
She told the tribunal that after the elections, INEC staff uploaded results from the polling units to the server at the headquarters in Abuja.
The witness said that uploading of data was not automatic neither was it done simultaneously.
Ehikhametalo further informed the tribunal that some polling units with large number of voters were provided with more than one card reader to ensure that all eligible voters were accredited during the election.
The witness also told the tribunal that prior to the elections, INEC had embarked on training of its entire ad-hoc staff on the use of the card readers.
She claimed that not much mistakes arising from the use of the card readers were recorded during the election that could have affected its outcome.
The Tribunal's chairman, Justice Nasiru Gunmi, after taking the witness' testimony, adjourned further hearing on the matter to September 16 .