By Dauda I Omaku
LAFIA — The governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Nasarawa state at resumed sitting in Lafia said it had admitted evidence from four witnesses that testified before it
The legal fireworks is heating up as the election petition Tribunal for Nasarawa State resumed hearing of the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, David Emmanuel Ombugadu, challenging the declaration of Abdullahi Sule as the winner of the March 18th governorship election in Nasarawa State.
The three-man panel of justices led by Justice Ezekiel Ajayi at the resumed hearing on the petition field by the PDP and it’s governorship candidate listened to arguments and counter-arguments canvassed by counsels to Governor Sule, the All progressives Congress and the Independent national Electoral Commission, INEC.
The argument centred on the admissibility or otherwise of documents and witnesses tendered and called by the complainants.
During the sitting, the petitioners through his counsels led by M.J Numa tendered documents including voter registers, list of adhoc staff, result sheets from several Local Government Areas, among others, to substantiate it’s claims.
Counsels to the respondents, however, objected to the admissibility of the documents but reserved their arguments to the final addresses.
Ruling on the issue, Justice Ajayi reserved ruling on the propriety of the admissibility of the documents or otherwise but allowed the petitioner to tender evidence brought before the tribunal.
Witnesses were also called by the petitioners from Lafia and Toto local government councils to substantiate the allegation of rigging, which were objected by the counsels to the defendants and reserved their argument to a later date.
Witnesses to the PDP and it’s candidate, Ombugadu, Ehaluka Aaron, Samule Dakwe and Ibrahim Umar Othman who were PDP agents during the election identified their deposition and told the court that they signed the documents under duress.
“We were made to sign the documents
under duress, “the PDP agents alleges.
It will be recalled that Ombugadu who was also a governorship candidate in the 2019 governorship election had approached the Tribunal to upturn the declaration of Sule as the elected governor of Nasarawa State, citing irregularities in the conduct of the polls.
The PDP candidate in the 2023 governorship election also prayed the Tribunal to declare him winner of the March 18th election based on evidences he is presenting before the court in accordance with the 1999 constitution as amended and the Electoral Act 2022.
Meanwhile, the three man panel of justices have adjourned sitting to the 13th of July 2023 for continuation of hearing of cases.
Our correspondent reports that protesters from both the camps of the APC and PDP took prominent positions along Shendam road where all major government establishments, including the Government House, House of Assembly and Judiciary Headquarters are located in solidarity.
The ever busy road was partly cordoned by anti-riot policemen to forestall the breakdown of law and order.