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PEPC : Dino Melaye testifies as Atiku’s witness, tells INEC’s lawyer ‘I’m a politician not entertainer’

The national collation agent of the People’s Democratic Party in last February’s presidential election, Senator Dino Melaye, on Friday testified before the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC), explaining that he walked out of the national collation centre and refused to endorse the final result because it was fraudulent.

According to Melaye, who is the governorship candidate of the PDP in the 11 November Kogi election, said what was announced at the national collation centre was at variance with what was counted at the polling unit levels.

Melaye, who is one of the star witnesses of the PDP and the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, was in the witness box for over an hour.

Responding to a question by the INEC lead counsel, Abubakar Mahmoud, of being a popular politician who entertains people, Dino answered that he is only a politician and not an entertainer.

He told the court that he was both in Kogi state and Abuja on Election Day.

Asked how he knew about discrepancies in polling unit results in different parts of the country when, according to him, he had left Kogi after voting to the national collation centre in Abuja, he responded that he was there “technologically”, with the courtroom bursting into laughter.

Under further cross examination, Dino said the agents of his party were sending live video reports and information to him real time and that was how he was able to know what was happening across the country

On whether transmission of results is part of the election collation process, Dino explained that the procedure for election collation includes transmission of results at the polling unit level first, before the results are moved to the ward collation level.

Responding to a specific question on whether the INEC results viewing portal I-Rev is a collation centre, he insisted that it is a fundamental part of the election process and that was why as a federal lawmaker at the time, he was part of the innovations introduced into the Electoral Act 2022, making it the most significant difference from the 2010 version.

When asked whether he is in possession of the correct results since he claims that the one announced by INEC was fraudulent, he said he does not have it, but that the statistician who testified earlier for his party had done the breakdown which was submitted in his report before the court

The cross examination became quite heated and exasperating for the different counsel for respondents at some point, who demanded a yes or no answer to their questions, with Dino insisting on giving explanatory answers

The Justices had to intervene on occasions, asking the PDP lead counsel Chris Uche to tell his witness to answer the questions as asked.

Dino’s cross examination however ended in a hilarious note as one of the Justices observed that he heard he is now a lawyer, wondering whether he is displaying what he was taught in his law class.

Another joked that he would probably join the PDP legal team.

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