Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has opened his own defense with documentary evidence and oral witnesses At the Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, just as the defendant presented a witness whose voter’s card was discovered to be reflecting a different name.
Recall that the tribunal is hearing a petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Abba Yusuf, challenging Mr Ganduje’s victory at the March 2019 governorship election in the state.
During the proceeding, Mr Ganduje lead counsel, Ofiong Ofiong, SAN, tendered documentary evidences of election result sheets (form EC8A) from 28 local government areas where supplementary election took place.
Other documents include certified true copies of form EC40G and copies of Election Day reports from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The respondent’s legal team also presented three oral witnesses from the controversial Gawa Ward of Nasarawa local government area of the state.
The first witness, Abubakar Suleiman of Kasuwar Murtala, Gama D, Nassarawa local government alleged that during the first election of March 9, supporters of the PDP in his polling unit submitted a list of 20 people to INEC officials insisting that they must vote before any other person.
However, while answering questions during cross-examination, Mr Sulaiman confirmed that the March 9 election result was signed by an unknown person called Auwalu on behalf on his party.
According to him, in the case of March 23 supplementary election, there were two party agents representing APC and that the other agent, Mansur Muktar-Adam, signed the result.
Meanwhile, there was a mild drama in the courtroom when Mr Suleiman was asked to present his voter’s card which was discovered to be reflecting a different name: Sadiq Sadiq.
The situation caused the PDP’s counsel Eyitayo Fatogun and that of Mr Ganduje, MN Duru, to engage one another in a heated argument over the discrepancy in the name of the witness and his means of identification.
Moving forward, however, the Second witness presented before the tribunal was Isa Waziri Bawa of Gama Tudu quarters, still in Nassarawa local government area of the state..
Mr Bawa, in his witness deposition of oath written at the tribunal registry on the May 17, 2019, said unlike other voters who showed up to cast their votes at Gama Tudu Primary School, the security men on election duty asked him to show his permanent voter’s card before gaining access to the polling station by to ensure safety of the voters in the area.
However, while being cross-examined by PDP’s counsel Fatogun, the witness disowned the claim contained in the second paragraph of his deposition saying it might be a typing error.
The witness further revealed that he stayed at the polling station until the results were announced, showing APC leading PDP. He, however, said that he was not sure if copies of the result sheet were posted for the general public to see.
Yahaya Usman of Layin Maigado, also from Gama ward of Nasarawa local government, the third witness, though without any means of identification, was allowed to testify before the tribunal.
He alleged that some under-aged people wearing red caps, believed to be members of the PDP and numbering about 20, stormed his polling station during the first election with voters’ cards.
However, the witness, during cross-examination by the petitioner’s counsel, failed to prove that the said people were under-aged, as well as whether wearing a red cap, belt, T-shirt, shoe or wristwatch reflects someone’s political affiliation.
After presenting three oral witnesses, one of the second respondent’s counsel, Aliyu Umar, SAN, asked for adjournment of the proceeding till Friday August 23, 2019.
The request was, therefore, granted by the chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Halima Shamaki Muhammad without any objection from all parties involved in the case.