Sokoto election tribunal adjourns after hearing 31 witnesses for PDP

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Sokoto State has adjourned its sitting to July 11 for continuation of hearing, as the PDP governorship candidate, Sa’idu Umar, presented 31 witnesses.

Umar approached the tribunal, demanding the nullification of March 18 election that produced Gov. Ahmad Aliyu of APC and his Deputy, Idris Gobir as winners.

Among the witnesses that testified in the case are Ibrahim Abdullahi, the Head Teacher of Model Primary School, Sabon Birni, Acting Head of ICT of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the state, Abubakar Usman and PDP polling agents during the election.

In a general remark at the resumed sitting on Thursday, the tribunal’s Chairman, Justice Haruna Mshelia, urged parties to respect the rule of law.

Mshelia made the remark while responding to PDP Lead Counsel, Sunday Ameh SAN, who prayed the tribunal to take judicial notice of alleged threat to lives of some of those subpoenaed as petitioners’ witnesses.

The judge said Sokoto State was an organised society and citizens known with respect to values.

Earlier, Ameh told the tribunal that some of the subpoenaed witnesses arranged to testify before the tribunal were allegedly being threatened which might jeopardise the processes.

The lead Respondents’ Counsel, Chief Jacob Ochidi, SAN, argued that such statements should be submitted in writing while the APC lead counsel, Hassan Liman, SAN, said APC was a law-abiding party that sought the governorship position in last four years.

At today’s sitting, Ameh presented the Head of Operations of INEC Sokoto, Abdulmumini Usman, as a witness who was unable to produce the complete requested documents in evidence.

Ameh prayed to the court for more days to enable the witness to produce the required documents.

After series of presentations by Ochidi and INEC lead counsel, AbdulAziz Sani, SAN, the tribunal adjourned the case to July 11, to continue hearing.

In the petition, Umar and PDP alleged that the election was flawed, arguing that it did not comply with electoral laws.

The petitioner argued that at the time of the election, respondents were not qualified to contest the election and prayed that by virtue of that, votes were wrongfully attributed to the respondents.

He said such votes, therefore, became unlawful or wasted, null and void.

He further prayed to the tribunal to mandate INEC to issue a new Certificate of Return to the Petitioner as the duly elected governor of Sokoto State, having scored the majority of the lawful votes cast or order for another election, excluding the respondents.

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