March 2, 2024

Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has closed his defence in a petition filed against him by the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), David Umbugadu, in the March 2023, governorship election.

Mubarak Adekilekun, the governor’s counsel, made an application to that effect during a sitting of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Lafia, the state capital.

Governor Sule, through his counsel, called 21 witnesses who testified in his support before the tribunal and applied to close his defence.

Ishaka Muddie Dikko (SAN), INEC lead counsel, Mathew Burkah (SAN) for APC, and the PDP lead counsel, Jibrin Samuel Okutepa (SAN), did not object to the application.

The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ezekiel Ajayi while ruling on the application; granted the governor’s prayers.

Seven more witnesses testified in support of Governor Abdullahi Sule, submitting that the votes of APC, were shortchanged during collation in their various wards.

Adamu Ibrahim Ottos from Nasarawa LGA, Ibrahim Musa Mbada, Wamba, Ayuba Osu Obla, Agwada, Kokona LGA, Usman Sani, a resident of Kotoko in Shege Electoral Ward, Rabiu Musa, from Katakpa, Haruna Muhammad, from Kenyehu and Yohanna Faji all from Toto LGA, as the witnesses.

The respondent’s witnesses in their various testimonies maintained that INEC Presiding Officers used BVAS machines to authenticate voters and uploaded the results to iReV, claiming that the votes of their party, APC, were shortchanged during entering at the ward collation levels.

The PDP lead counsel, Jibrin Samuel Okutepa (SAN), sought to tender CTC of form EC8 A for Kotoko Polling Unit, 004, an application that was objected to by all the respondents’ counsels, with Matthew Burkah (SAN) for APC confirming that the said document contained a fresh writing, no signature, and name of the INEC Presiding Officer.

Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ezekiel Ajayi, adjourned the hearing till Wednesday to Thursday next week for APC to open its defence.

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