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Engineer Sule wraps up his defence impressively as additional witnesses attest to the widespread non-collation of legitimate APC ballots

Aug 28, 2023 | 2023 Elections | 0 comments

Engineer Abdullahi Sule, governor of Nasarawa State, has finished his defence in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and David Ombugadu lawsuit challenging his March 18 gubernatorial election win.

Engineer Sule, via his attorney, Dr. Mubarak Adekilekun, requested to end his defence on Saturday after seven more witnesses testified under oath to widespread non-collation of lawful All Progressives Congress (APC) ballots during the gubernatorial election.

Witnesses from Nasarawa, Kokona, Wamba, and Toto Local Government Areas stated that Engineer Sule and the APC were shortchanged with wrongly tallied votes at ward and local government collation centres.

Adamu Ibrahim Otto, from Nasarawa Local Government Area, told the tribunal that his Odu/Kadu polling ward, RW46, held smoothly and that INEC officers validated voters using the BVAS machine. Otto further verified that after voting at his Apaku Polling Unit with Code 018, the Presiding Officer submitted the IREV results scan.

He stated his main issue was that Form EC8B showed the APC’s vote decreasing and the PDP’s increasing.

The witness testified that the APC was shortchanged in three polling units, Apaku (PUC 018, RW26), Andrew Wayo (PUC 010, RW 27), and Odu/Kadu (PUC 005, RW28), all in Kana/Onda/Apawu ward registration area of Nasarawa LGA.

Otto said APC obtained 101 votes and PDP 14 at Apaku, while Kana/Onda/Apawu ward collation centre results indicated 72 and 44, respectively.

In RW27, APC scored 193, PDP 32, while at the ward collation centre, APC scored 115, PDP 32. In RW28, APC scored 66 and PDP 42. However, the ward collation centre reported 32 and 76.

Jibrin Samuel Okutekpa, the lead lawyer for the petitioners, wanted to show 14 Certified True Copies (CTCs) of Form EC8As that were downloaded from IREV, including the two polling units that Adamu Ibrahim Otto testified about, as well as a receipt of payment, a certificate of compliance, and a Form EG40, when he was cross-examining the witness (2).

Nevertheless, attorneys for the first, second, and third respondents opposed the papers’ inclusion, with 1st respondent Mathew Burkah rejecting them since they were not downloaded from the IREV.

After hearing both counsels, Tribunal Chairman Justice Ezekiel Oyeyemi Ajayi approved the petitioners’ pleas and marked the papers as evidence.

Usman Sani, a resident of Kotoko Polling Unit in Shegye Ward; Rabiu Musa, from Katakpa; Haruna Muhammad, from Kenyehu; and Yohanna Faji, from Toto, all in Toto LGA, testified under oath that the PDP-influenced the election at the ward level.

Usman Sani, an APC polling unit agent during the March 18 gubernatorial election, claimed APC scored 736 in the ward collation centre. Still, INEC did not complete Form EC40G, and no justification was provided for the annulment of APC’s score on Form EC8B.

He verified 753 registered voters and 740 accredited voters.

At this point, lead counsel for the petitioners, Jibrin Samuel Okutepa, sought to tender CTC of Form EC8A for Kotoko Polling Unit, 004, which was objected to by all the respondents’ counsel, with Mathew Burkah for APC confirming that the document contained fresh write, no signature, and the INEC presiding officer’s name.

Rabiu Musa stated that APC scored 71 and PDP took 31 votes in the Sere Polling Unit of Katakpa One Ward. However, APC scored 41 instead of 74 and PDP 61.

From Kenyehu, Toto LGA, Haruna Muhammad told the tribunal that the INEC Presiding Officer utilized BVAS to verify voters and uploaded results to iReV. His party, the APC, objected to the Fofuru Polling Unit, 003 and Ward results.

Haruna stated APC scored 207 and PDP zero in Fofuru Polling Unit, 003, while ward collation centre data indicated APC scored 2 and PDP zero.

Yohanna Faji from Toto stated APC scored 011 64 at Apasa Primary School Polling Unit, 44 at the Ward, and 102 at Ungwan Prince Open Space Polling, 146 at APC and 35 at PDP, but 145 at Gadagba Ward, with PDP receiving 36 votes.

At this point, the petitioners’ attorney, J. J. Usman, asked to offer a duplicate copy of the Gadagba Ward’s result, which all respondents’ counsel opposed. Tribunal Chairman Justice Ezekiel Ajayi allowed the plea and marked the document as an exhibit.

As Dr. Mubarak Adekilekun, counsel for the second respondent, requested to end their defence, Judge Ezekiel Ajayi delayed the hearing till Wednesday next week for the APC to commence its defence.

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