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Nasarawa guber: End of road for PDP, Ombugadu as INEC closes defence

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has closed its defence at the ongoing Nasarawa State governorship election petition tribunal, saying there’s no need to spend public funds following confessions by the star witness of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the effect that the PDP inflated the March 18th gubernatorial election results.

Lead counsel to the INEC, Ishiaka Mudi Dikko, SAN, in his submission before the tribunal, on Friday, said in the light of that development, with the PDP’s star witness, Ayiwulu Baba Ayiwulu, admitting to his party’s inflating the governorship electoral results, there’s no need to spend public money inviting witnesses in support of his case.

Dikko, who is the lead council for the first respondent in the case filed by the PDP and its 2023 gubernatorial candidate, David Ombugadu challenging the declaration of Engineer Abdullahi Sule as winner, recalled that he has earlier informed the tribunal that his response will depend on the nature of witnesses presented by the petitioners.

“After cross examining the (PDP) star witness who admitted to errors, there’s no need to waste public money. I hereby close my case,” he stated.

Earlier, the INEC lead council tendered 9 documents as evidence in support of his case before the tribunal.

The documents submitted, which was admitted by the tribunal include certified true copies of Form EC40G1 for 36 polling units of Ashige electoral ward and one polling unit of Gayam electoral ward, all in Lafia Local Government Area, Form EC40 for all 36 polling units of Ashige electoral ward, Forms EC8B for Kanje Abuni and Gayam electoral wards in Awe and Lafia Local Government Areas respectively. Other documents submitted are Form EC8B of Chiroma electoral ward of Lafia Local Government Area, Form EC8C for all the 13 local government areas of the state, Form EC8B which is the summary of results for all local government areas collation at the state level, Form EC8E for the declaration of results, as well as receipt for the payment of the confirmation of the result.

Counsel to Nasarawa State Governor and that of the All Progressives Congress (APC) being the second and third respondents in the case respectively, aligned with the INEC counsel who urged the tribunal to admit all the documents tendered before it as evidence.

Adebayo Adelodu, lead counsel for Engineer Sule and H.M Liman, SAN, lead counsel for the APC, all agreed that the documents submitted by the INEC as evidence before the tribunal, are relevant to both parties in the case.

While making submissions before the three-man panel, lead counsel to Engineer Abdullahi Sule, who is the second respondent in the case, requested for the sitting to adjourn to enable him make his presentation on the following day. After listening to the counsels, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ezekiel Oyeyemi Ajayi, adjourned its sitting to Saturday, August 19, 2023, for the continuation of hearing.

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