From Esther Akaa, Lafia
The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Nasarawa State on Saturday received more witnesses in Governor Abdullahi Sule’s defence over the alleged manipulation of the March 18, 2023 governorship election in the state.
At the continuation of Governor Sule (2nd Respondent’s defense at the tribunal sitting in Lafia, the Polling Units results of forms EC8As tendered by Governor Sule’s witnesses were different from the ones on the IReV portal and duplicate copies of the same results.
The witnesses that testified in the case were identified by the Governor’s attorney as RW15 and RW21.
The witnesses alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) scores in some Polling Units were either not collated at all or incorrectly collated into the Ward summary (Forms EC8B) of the corresponding wards.
They claimed that the difference ought to have been added to their final score which was declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, but did not file any cross petition on the matter.
During the cross examination of the first witness by Counsel to Dr. David Ombugadu and the Peoples Democratic Party
governorship candidate, Samuel Okutepa (SAN), the IReV CTC copies certified by INEC and duplicate copies of the actual Polling Units results were tendered at the tribunal, and they were different from the set of Polling Units being relied upon by the 2nd Respondent in support of his claims.
Contrary to what the 2nd Respondent claimed, the witnesses for the 2nd Respondent admitted that the actual scores in the IReV CTCs and duplicate copies provided by the Petitioners were correctly entered to their corresponding forms EC8Bs for those units and wards.
During the cross examination of another 2nd Respondent’s witness designated as RW21, he told the court that there was no actual cancellation of results in Lafia Local Government Area, indicating that there was no justification for the non-collation or exclusion of the results of 35 Polling Units in Ashige electoral ward of Lafia LGA where the PDP claimed to have won during the governorship election.
Earlier, during the cross examination of one of the 2nd Respondent’s witnesses designated as RW14, one of the forms EC8As tendered at the tribunal also showed not to have the name of the Presiding Officer and signature on it.
After taking the available witnesses for the day, the Counsel to the 2nd Respondent (Governor Sule) closed his case.
On his part, Counsel to APC (3rd Respondent) informed the Court that he was ready to commence defence on August 30, 2023.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ezekiel Ajayi, therefore adjourned the matter to the said date for commencement of the 3rd Respondent’s defense.
The Voice reports that governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. David Ombugadu, is challenging the victory of the incumbent governor, Sule of the APC in the just concluded election.