Nasarawa Guber EPT- APC Opens Defence Amidst Controversy

Kefas Tigga of the PDP-Ombugadu Media Team

Nasarawa state Guber EPT: INEC confirms PDPs’ hopes as evidence submitted were described as “mere papers without substance.”A statement signed one Kefas Tigga of the PDP-Ombugadu Media Team said the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC could not present any witness at the commencement of their defence as promised from their seating of 16th August, 2023.

Mr. Tigga said after a successful outing of the PDP star witness Bar. Ayiwulu Baba Ayiwulu, who earlier established his case based on facts about the irregularities that surrounded the Prof. Ishaya Audu declaration of Engr. Audu Sule as the winner of the 2023 Gubernatorial election in Nasarawa state, the election tribunal sitting took an entirely new dimension as the defense was hoping to take a pinch on the star witness due to some irregularities on the table submitted in his witness statement under oat.

Barr. Ayiwulu the star witness explained that the irregularities from the table as filed to the court were due to some human errors which he said could be clarified and reconciled by the evidence presented to the tribunal which includes certified true copies of form EC8As, Form EC8Bs, the Irev results, BVAS printout, and BVAS screenshot as presented by INEC subpoena witness from the ICT Department of the National Headquarters of INEC and state respectively, including every other documents presented before the court as part of the essential evidence by the PDP and its candidate, David Ombugadu.

After the cross-examination by the respondent’s counsel, which includes the lawyers of INEC, Engr. Sule and APC, the PDP lead counsel led by J.S Okutepa SAN, officially closed their case on Thursday, 17th August 2023, amidst great jubilation by PDP supporters who concluded that it was a successful delivery.

Following the PDP closure of their petition, INEC began their defence officially today, Friday 18th August 2023, with their lead counsel Barrister. Isiaku Mudi Dikko (SAN), who earlier mentioned that he would proceed before the arrival of their witness whom he claimed was on his way to the court. He sort to tender some documents to the tribunal from the bar in order to fill the void following acceptance of the request to proceed, Dikko (SAN), among other documents duly submitted Form EC8Bs of some affected areas which include the following:

1. Certified True Copies (CTC) of purported Form EC40G for 36 Polling Units in Ashige Electoral Ward Lafia LGA.

2. Certified True Copy of the poported Form EC40G of a Polling Unit in Gayam Electoral Ward Lafia LGA.

3. Poported manual of Form EC8B for Kanje/Abuni Electoral Ward, Awe LGA.

4. Poported manual Form EC8B for Gayam Electoral Ward Lafia LGA.

5. Poported manual Form EC8B for Ciroma Electoral Ward Lafia LGA.

6. 13 Manual Form EC8C’s Series for the 13 LGA of Nasarawa State.

7. Poported manual Form EC8D (Summary of all LGA’S Collation Results at the State Collation Centre).

8. Poported manual Form EC8E ( Declaration of Governorship Nasarawa State)

9. INEC Receipt of payments in respect of the above-named documents.

However, INEC deliberately failed to present the form EC8A, which is the polling unit results being the foundation of all the collated results in the election under question.

INEC which was the empire that conducted the March 18th, 2023 Governorship and State House of Assembly Elections through its Lead Counsel Isiaka Dikko (SAN) did not tender any additional document evidence from the Bar before the Honorable Tribunal especially Form EC8As among the documents in evidence to support its defence on Friday 18/08/2023. This raised doubts as to the competence of the records submitted being more a repetition of what the tribunal is already in possession of based on the PDP petition. Form EC8A is the first record of collated results at the polling unit.

After the presentation of the documents by the INEC’s lead counsel, the tribunal was set to receive the respondents’ witnesses but was instead informed by Barr. Dikko, SAN, that the 1st respondent has decided to bring to a close their argument without presenting any witnesses as earlier promised.

Barr. Dikko, SAN, based his position on the grounds that after having earlier listened to the petitioner’s substantive evidence of the star witness, there was no need to waste the resources of government and was unable to present any further witness due to paucity of funds and that based on PDP witness submissions and evidence before the tribunal, it was clear who the winner of the 2023 gubernatorial election was.

Barr. Dikko further stated that as INEC representatives, their responsibility was to ensure that elections are done peacefully and winners are announced from the process but in such a case, the court has the power to exercise their rights as the only temple of justice and the last hope of masses to determine the veracity of claims by petitioners.

Responding, the PDP counsel objected to the documents presented to the tribunal by the defendant’s counsel, arguing that such documents are “mere waste papers that are irrelevant to the case on the ground.” He pleaded to reserve his reasons for the objection for their final written address.

Consequently, the case was adjourned to Saturday the 19th of August 2023 for the second Respondent (A A Sule) to begin his defence in the petition.

Recall that PDP star witness urged the tribunal to rely on evidence already supplied by INEC, and other official records being the sole custodian and handler of pre and post-election materials including CTC of BVAS, IREV and sundry documents.

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