The 19th witness, led by former Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle, has presented evidence in his petition against Governor Dauda Lawal-Dare at the state governorship election petition tribunal. The case has been adjourned to July 19, 2023.
Matawalle, who ran as the All Progressives Congress candidate in the governorship election, approached the tribunal to challenge the victory of Dare from the Peoples Democratic Party in the election. He alleged irregularities in the March 18, 2023 election and sought a declaration from the tribunal naming him as the winner, claiming he received the majority of the valid votes.
Additionally, Matawalle requested that the Independent National Electoral Commission issue him a new certificate of return. During the hearing, Dr. Ahmad Kainuwa, the Returning Officer of Maradun Local Government Area during the governorship election, testified as the 19th witness under the guidance of the petitioner’s lead counsel, Mr. Usman Sule SAN.
The Returning Officer identified the result sheet he collected from the ward collation officers he supervised as evidence, stating that INEC instructed him not to present it. Instead, he was told to announce the result generated from the INEC server, as the result sheet he submitted to INEC differed from the one on the server.
He explained that INEC officials instructed him to present the version from the INEC server, claiming it was authentic. The witness also mentioned that there was tension during the collation exercise in Maradun, and the Divisional Police Officer urged him to expedite the process due to the presence of bandits in the area.
Under cross-examination by the counsel for the respondent, Chief Solomon Akuma SAN, O.M. Atoyemi SAN, and Wilson Tinger, the witness confirmed the existence of different figures and identified the ones he produced.
The Tribunal Chairperson, Justice Cordelia Ogadi, adjourned the session to July 19, allowing Lawal and the PDP to present their defense.