The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday presented 17 witnesses out of the 685 it lined up as it opened its case against the declaration of Gov. Nasir El-Rufai as winner of the March 9, 2019 Governorship election in Kaduna State.
The PDP and its Governorship candidate in the poll, Alhaji Isah Ashiru are asking the state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to nullify the election of El-Rufai and declare its candidate the winner having scored the majority of valid votes cast during the election.
The petitioners who joined INEC, APC and El-Rufai in the case, alleged that the poll was characterised by massive rigging, ballot box stuffing and violence in 110 wards in 12 local government areas of the state.
The LGAs all of which the PDP lost to the APC as declared by INEC, include Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Igabi, Ikara, Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Kubau, Kudan, Lere, Sabon Gari, Soba and Zaria.
The party said it had assembled 685 witnesses, mostly party agents and returning officers it assigned during the poll.The PDP, at the resumed hearing on Monday, submitted names of 17 persons as first batch of witnesses who began testifying before the tribunal.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 684 PDP witnesses are expected testify before the tribunal within 14 days.Earlier, the Ibrahim Bako-led Tribunal had admitted in evidence various documents presented by the petitionersElisha Kurah (SAN), Counsel to the pettioners, had presented certified true copies (CTC) of forms from polling units, ward collation centres, and local government collation Centres obtained from INEC.
Kurah also submitted INEC documents allegedly used to declare the winner of the March 9 election to the tribunal.He told newsmen that the forms allegedly contained discrepancies that would be proved before the tribunal.Kurah said: “the forms we tendered, were forms that INEC used during the election.
” Some of the forms were not signed by the agents, some were not stamped and, you find handwriting of one person on all the forms. I mean one person wrote everything in those forms we have presented.“The Tribunal has accepted all the documents we presented and addmitted same in evidence.
“There are lots of differences between those INEC forms we presented to the Tribunal and that of the PDP agents,” he said.The Counsel said: ” the witnesses have been assembled to speak on the forms and the lack of genuiness of the forms we collected from INEC.”
According to him, the witnesses would present genuine copies of the documents as they testify.NAN reports that the witnesses are appearing based on the documents the Tribunal had earlier admitted.Dr Musa Aliyu, Counsel to INEC said the Commission had raised objection to some of the documents and would submit details of their objections when it address the Tribunal.
“The witnesses are coming to testify what hapoened during the March 9 poll.”Also, Ibrahim Bawa (SAN), Counsel to the APC said his clients would present their objections in the course of the proceedings.Bawa said the APC would also bring its witnesses to the Tribunal to prove that the petitioners had no case.The Tribunal has adjourned to Tuesday, June 18 to continue, after taking three witnesses from Zaria LG.(NAN)