From Esther Akaa, Lafia
In what seem to be a drama, the star witness of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nasarawa State, on Saturday testified against Governor Abdullahi Sule at the ongoing Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Lafia, the state capital.
The Voice reports that the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Dr. David Ombugadu had filled a petition against Governor Abdullahi Sule of the All Progressives Congress, APC, alleging manipulation of the March 18, 2023 governorship election held in the state.
The APC’s star witness, Alhaji Aliyu Bello who doubles as the State Secretary of the party while testifying at the Tribunal, said he was not aware of the existence of form ECGPU40, the same form that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) tendered at the Tribunal to support its declaration of Governor Sule as winner of the election.
The witness who was called by Governor Sule’s lead counsel, Chief Rotimi Adeladu (SAN), tendered his means of identification to the tribunal which include his Permanent Voter Card and APC Membership Card respectively.
Bello who was at the tribunal to defend Governor Sule, narrated that elections were only cancelled at the polling units not at the ward or local government levels during the 2023 governorship poll in the state.
The state APC Secretary further accused INEC that some of his party’s votes were not properly collated in both forms EC8As and EC8Bs.
Earlier, the first Respondent (INEC) had insisted that no vote was tempered with by the Commission but the APC Secretary argued with INEC that even though its candidate was declared winner of the poll, some of the party’s votes were reduced in many polling units in the state.
The APC star witness further lamented that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines were not used in some of the polling units in the state.
He, however agreed that elections were won in polling units with Form EC8A results, adding that INEC BVAS IREV portal was the only source where results could be properly collated.
On his part, Chief Rotimi Adeladu (SAN), tendered some documents which include 1-37 form EC8As of some affected polling units; Forms EC8Bs of 33 Electoral wards in seven Local Government Areas of the state as well as Form EC8As of 29 polling units of some affected areas which Governor Sule claimed his votes were deducted by unknown forces.
During the cross examination of the witness, the PDP Lead Counsel, Dr. Samuel Okutepa (SAN) objected to the documents presented by the witness and promised to give reasons for the objection during his written addresses.
After listening to all the submissions for the day, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ezekiel Ajayi, adjourned the matter to the 24th, 26th and 27th of August 2023, for continuation of defence.