Gov. Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State has closed his defence against the All Progressives Congress (APC), with the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Abdullahi Baffa-Bichi, as a sole witness.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the petitioner, APC is challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for declaring Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) winner of the March 18 governorship election in the state.
The respondents in the suit are INEC, Yusuf and NNPP.
At the resumed sitting as led in evidence by Counsel to the governor, R. A. Lawal SAN, the second respondent witness (2RW1) adopted his deposition of witness on oath dated May 14, as his evidence.
Baffa-Bichi told the court that Yusuf was declared winner by INEC on March 20, having scored 1,019,602 votes against Nasiru Gawuna of APC, who polled 890,705 votes, with margin difference of 128,897 votes.
“The second respondent is a bonafide member of NNPP with registration number: NNPP/HQ/KN/GWL/DS/001.
“The NNPP membership card was issued by the National body through the State chapter to the local government chapter then the ward and it was signed by the National and Ward chairmen,” Baffa-Bichi said.
Under cross-examination by Counsel to the petitioner, Mr Offiong Offiong SAN, the RW1 informed that he acted as the State returning agent for the second and third respondents at the INEC Kano headquarters level.
Baffa-Bichi said the rules and regulations of the election does not require the list to have pictures, but rather a photo ID pursuant to Section 9 (c) of the Electoral Act.
“I received the summary of results that were read by the state returning agent of INEC after receiving from local government collation offices of INEC.
“INEC are in better position to identify and recognise this statement of result because they are in custody of the originals as certified true copy, ” he stated.
He also told the court that he was at INEC head office Kano to protect the interest of NNPP and Yusuf, and ensure that INEC, its officers and staff substantially comply with the provisions of the Constitution, Electoral Act and guidelines of the manual of election.
“I am fully satisfied that INEC and all its staff from my experience at the collation centre have substantially complied,” Baffa-Bichi asserted.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there was an earlier mild drama when counsel to the petitioner (Offiong) tendered some documents as exhibit while cross-examining the 2RW1.
But Counsel to INEC, Emmanuel Osayomi, objected the admissibility of all the documents by the petitioner.
“My Lord if the documents are admitted while cross-examing the witness, it will be an unfair trial,” Osayomi argued.
Counsels to Yusuf, Lawal and Counsel to NNPP, John Olusola SAN, also objected the admissibility of the documents.
“There is a witness in the witness box as we speak, the duty of the petitioner is to cross-examine not tendering of documents,” he maintained.
Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay adjourned the matter until July 24, for the third respondent to open their defence.
NAN also reports that the petitioner is also asking the Tribunal to declare that NNPP has no candidate as Yusuf is not in their register of voters submitted to INEC at the time of the election. (NAN)