Gov Sule’s lawyers tender evidences showing Governor was shortchanged

Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule
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Gov Sule’s lawyers tender evidences showing Governor was shortchanged

….PDP star witness, Ayiwulu, is an impostor-Aliyu Bello.

Counsel to Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, have tendered four sets of documents before the Nasarawa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, seeking to show that their client was shortchanged during the March 18th gubernatorial election.

Adebayo Adelodu, lead counsel to Engineer Sule, second respondent in the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, David Ombugadu, tendered certified true copies of documents issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) showing clearly that Engineer Sule was shortchanged.

Adelodu specifically tendered unit results for areas where they are claiming that results for their client was excluded, ward results where they are claiming Engineer Sule was excluded, unit results where they are objecting to votes and receipts of payments for the documents obtained from INEC.

The lead counsel explained that, the first set of documents covers serial numbers 1 to 31, being certified true copies of Form EC8As of polling units where the second respondent expressed exclusion of votes, with the names of polling units and corresponding codes clearly stated.

He said the second set of documents comprises of Form EC8B covering in detail 23 wards in 7 local government areas of the state, with the third set being Form EC8As in respect to 29 polling units where their client is subjected to vote exclusion.

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The lead counsel to Engineer Sule thereafter pleaded for the sitting to be stepped down for two hours to allow the parties involved in the case to study the document, following which the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ezekiel Oyeyemi Ajayi, adjourned proceedings to be resumed by 2pm.

At the resumption of sitting and in continuation of his defence, Adelodu announced Aliyu Bello as the first witness to be presented by the second respondent in defence of his victory during the March 18th gubernatorial election.

Bello, who doubles as the State Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as well as the State Collation Officer for the March 18th gubernatorial election, affirmed that he has earlier on May 6th, 2023, deposed to a statement of notice, for which Adelodu is urging the tribunal to adopt.

Thereafter, Bello tendered the original and photocopies of his identity card indicating that he is indeed, the APC state collation officer, as issued by the INEC, alongside his registered voter’s card.

Under cross examination, Bello, who turned out to be the APC star witness, said he was aware that the INEC canceled elections for Ashige electoral ward in Lafia Local Government Area, following which the electoral body issued Form EC40G to that effect.

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On the complaint by the petitioners that their votes in Gayam, Chiroma in Lafia LGA and Kanje Abuni and Azara, in Awe LGA were reduced by the INEC, Bello said nobody touched the petitioners votes in the mentioned areas and that what the petitioners scored was what was recorded for them.

On the tables tendered by the petitioners on pages 49 to 51 of their petition where they claim that by their computation, they were leading by 4130 votes, the APC star witness said the table was incorrect as it contains instances where votes scored by the second respondent were reduced and additions to the number of votes scored by the petitioners.

Adelodu then drew attention of the witness to paragraphs 101-132 of his statement on notice, where according to him, the votes of APC were not properly collated, exhibits RW12 to RW42, where he mentioned polling units showing areas the votes of APC were not properly collated,amongst others.
Bello confirmed that the APC was shortchanged as captured in RW37, at Angwan Nupawa Polling Unit 006, where APC scored 200 votes but in RW53-EC8B, 184 votes was recorded for the party.

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However, there was mild drama at the tribunal, when after he was referred to documents tendered before the court as evidence, particularly RW98 and ID-31, seeking to identify the star witness of the petitioners, Ayiwulu Baba Ayiwulu, as the state collation officer of the PDP during the March 18th gubernatorial election, Bello stated categorically that Ayiwulu was not the state collation officer for the PDP in the last election.

Contrary to the claim by the petitioners that Ayiwulu was the PDP state collation officer, Bello said Ayiwulu was only the collation officer for Keana Local Government Area during the March 18th gubernatorial election.

Before closing his cross examination of the APC star witness, lead counsel to the second respondent, tendered certified true copies of political parties accredited collation agents issued by the INEC, for three political parties namely APC, NNPP and PDP.

After allowing the lead counsel to the petitioners, Jibrin Samuel Okutekpa, to cross examine the APC star witness, where the counsel failed in his bid to prevail on Bello to allude to wrongful cancelation of election in Ashige electoral ward by the INEC, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ezekiel Oyeyemi Ajayi, adjourned proceedings for Thursday, August 24, 2023 for the continuation of hearing.

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