Mild drama ensued at the Plateau Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Monday when defending witnesses confirmed some irregularities during the 2019 general elections in the state.
Mr Sani Inusa, Munzeli Lawal and Abdullahi Maigoro, defence witnesses of the All Progressives Congress (APC), gave some startling revelations on results sheets of their respective polling units in Jos North Local Government.
Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Useni (Rtd), of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is challenging the victory of Gov. Simon Lalong of APC in the 2019 polls at the Governorship elections Tribunal sitting in Jos, Plateau.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on resumption of hearing of Lalong’s and INEC defence on Monday at the tribunal, Inusa confirmed to the tribunal that the number of valid votes and rejected votes surpassed the number of accredited voters at the Sarai Mangu polling unit, where he served as APC Agent.
Mr Sunday Odey, Counsel to Useni had, during cross-examination, asked Inusa of the actual number of valid votes recorded on Exhibit P25 and he answered, “374 votes “
“What was the actual number of the accredited voters for your polling unit? Odey asked. “374 voters, “ Unusa answered.
“Look at exhibit very well and tell us the number of rejected votes recorded, “ Odey asked and Sani replied, “ 14 votes “.
The petitioner’s counsel, who also cross examined Lawal, APC agent at Dilimi polling unit, confirmed to the tribunal that there were some alterations on the original result sheet, which also reflected on the duplicate copy.
“Look at Exhibit P94 and P94A and tell us whether the alterations done on the original copy of the result sheet reflected on on the duplicate copy (P94A)? Odey asked.
“Yes they reflected on the duplicate
Odey continued, “Look at column one to six and tell this Tribunal whether there were addition of figures or not on the original copy?”
The witness said, “ yes it’s true there are additions on the copies.”
“The additions were done with the consent of all party agents, Lawal explained.
Also testifying, during cross examination, Maigoro, APC agent told the tribunal that the alterations done on the original copy of the result sheet didn’t reflect on the duplicate copy.
Odey asked, “ Look at exhibit P60A, the duplicate result sheet, is there alteration on it as on the original copy?”
Maigoro responded, “No, the alterations do not reflect on duplicate because we effected them at the Collation centre.”
“Look at it again, is there any signature of an INEC official on it?” Odey further asked. And Maigoro said, “No, there isn’t.”
“Why isn’t there any INEC official’s signature on it?” Odey asked.
The witness said, “ because there was alterations on the copy.”
Mr Garba Pwul SAN, however, told the tribunal that the witnesses that testified on Monday were all that they had for the day in their defence and asked for an adjournment to enable them review their remaining witnesses for July 30.
All other counsel in the matter did not object to the application for adjournment.
The Chairman of the Tribunal,Mrs H.A. Suleeman frowned at the application which she described as too early for the day looking at the time at their disposal.
“We hope this attitude won’t repeat itself more that we yet to collect the remaining list of your witnesses and evidences considering the time at our disposal, “ she said
The tribunal adjourned the case until July to July 30 for continuation of hearing of defence.