All the three witnesses the PeoplesDemocratic Party (PDP) called between9a.m. and 2p.m. last Thursday gave evidences that were found to be inconsistent with entries in the certified true copies of INEC documents used in the wards, where the witnesses claimed to have worked for PDP during the April 26 governorship ballot.
The ruling PDP, which is the third respondent in the petition the ACN’s Mohammed Dele Belgore (SAN) filed before the Kwara State Election Petitions Tribunal, challenging the return of PDP’s Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed and his deputy, Peter Kishra, opened its defence.
Ahmed and Kishra, the first and second respondents, had last Wednesday, exhausted the seven days allotted to them by the tribunal. The INEC, which is the fourth respondent, is to open its defence after the PDP must have exhausted its own time.
Ibrahim Olanrewaju, a PDP witness, who claimed to be his party’s ward supervisor for Ila Oja Ward of Asa Local Government Council Area of Kwara State during the poll, had insisted in his statement on oath and during cross-examination that the election was free and fair and debunked claims that the ballot was disrupted or that collation did not take place at the said ward.
Apart from telling the court that he was at the collation centre, where he witnessed the exercise with everybody signing the result, Olanrewaju also gave the name of his ward collation agent (PDP) to be one Saka Olobi, but he later backtracked to say he did not know who the collation agent was.
Asked whether all the parties’ agents signed, Olanrewaju said yes.
But counsel to the petitioners, Charles Edosomwan (SAN), confronted Olanrewaju with Form EC8B for the same ward (result sheet), which showed that neither the agent of the PDP nor agents of other political parties signed the result sheet for the ward. Olanrewaju later admitted that no agent signed the result, rendering controversial his claims that everything went smoothly and that collation took place.
Shehu Abubakar, PDP ward supervisor for Awe/Orimaro/Adigbongbo Ward 2 of Asa Local Government Council Area, signed at least seven conflicting signatures during cross-examination, during which Edosomwan asked him to repeat the signature he purportedly signed on Form EC8B on April 26.
All the signatures he signed conflicted with the one on Form EC8B, which had just the name Bello as the signature.
Asked whether his name was Bello, Abubakar said that was the name of the man who taught him how to trade in gasoline and automobile spare parts. He later said Bello was the name of his paternal uncle.
Edosomwan tendered all the conflicting signatures and marked as Exhibits DW54A and DW54B.
Another witness, Baba Muhammed, PDP ward supervisor for Keneru Kemberu Ward of Baruten Local Government Council Area, claimed in his statement on oath that the ballot was peaceful and orderly, that INEC complied with all the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended. He denied that accreditation did not take place or that voting was disruptedand insisted that ACN’s “allegations” of irregularities were a tissue of lies and a “ruse.”
Asked whether he actually authored and deposed to the statement on oath, Muhammed said he did so himself without the assistance of anybody.
Edosomwan again asked him to tell the court the meanings of the words of “conversant”, “allegations” and “ruse” as used in his statement on oath, since he authored the deposition, but Muhammed said he had since forgotten the meanings of the words after writing them.
Muhammed, like Abubakar, also gave at least three conflicting signatures, none of which matched the one found on Form EC8B, which he claimed to have signed. The three signatures were tendered in evidence before the tribunal.