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Nigerian Politics

Kaduna State Election Petition Court: True story of Saturday’s proceedings

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Kaduna State Election Petition Court: True story of Saturday’s proceedings

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The three man panel of Elections Petitions Court in Kaduna State presided over by Justice HH Kereng, on Saturday, heard testimonies from subpoenaed witnesses before the court.

But contrary to the insinuations and false reports published in some select media that the witnesses testified against the PDP senatorial candidate, Sen Lawal Adamu Usman, before the court on Saturday, an audio recording of the cross examination now circulating in public domain suggests otherwise.

The All Progressive Congress candidate, Mohammed Sani Abdullahi ( Dattijo) had filed a suit before the court to challenge the eligibility of Sen Lawal Adamu Usman of the Peoples Democratic Party.

From the audio recording of the court’s Saturday proceedings, the witnesses under cross examination by MA Mahmoud Sani SAN, testified in favour of the PDP Senator.

The testimonies of the witnesses, however, further reinforced the position of the respondents ( PDP) on all the three-count allegations brought before the court for determination.

The petition borders on substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act and INEC’s guidelines by the respondents (INEC). The claim by APC of irregularities which substantially affected the outcome of the elections. They hinged their arguments on over-voting in favour of PDP and its candidate.

The second petition was on the qualification of the PDP candidate, to wit where they claimed the candidate’s educational credentials were forged.

Finally, the petitioners claimed that the PDP candidate was not validly nominated to represent his party as its candidate since he did not win the party primaries of the PDP by reason of over-voting by the delegates.

Under cross examination, an attorney from the Ahmadu Bello University and an Associate Professor Ishaq from the Faculty of Law, who represented the Vice Chancellor of the University, testified that Lawal Adamu Usman was a student of the institution from National Diploma level to Bsc in Public Administration.

The second witness, Esther Bala Wuyaa, who is a Director, Special Duties of the National Examination Council ( NECO), testified before the court that Lawal Adamu Usman sat for and obtained the result, affirming that the document emanated from NECO.

The testimony by the Demonstration Secondary School was discountenanced by the Senator’s lawyer, as he clarified that his client neither claimed nor attended the prescribed school.

According to the lawyer, his client attended Diamond Academy, Zaria and Amir Abdulkarim Tahfizul Qur’an, Zaria where he satisfied the requirement for the award of a Senior Arabic and Islamic Secondary School Certificate (SAISSC) issued by the National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies ( NBAIS). The result was gazetted in 2015.

The primary school he attended was Demonstration Primary School, Gwagwalada, Abuja, in 1986. The Sarkin Jere enrolled him into the school and he bore the name Lawal Abdullahi Jere ( Jere being the name of his hometown in Kagarko Local Government Area). He, however swore to an affidavit on the 3rd of January 2003 changing his name to that of his father, Adamu Usman. Since then his name has been consistent. He has tendered sufficient evidence to prove this assertion.

The third witness, Haj Fatima of the Legal Department of INEC testified that the only candidate known to INEC is Lawal Adamu Usman as the Supreme Court had adjudicated and adjudged him the candidate. The copy of the Supreme Court judgment was tendered in evidence.

She went further to tender the results of the 3356 polling units in the senatorial constituency election where she affirmed that there was no iota of over-voting. Her testimony led to the closure of the petitioners case.

The tribunal adjourned to the 11th of July for the respondents to open their case.