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Plateau Governorship Election: Drama at tribunal as defence witnesses confirm irregularities

Mild drama ensued at Plateau Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, yesterday, when All Progressives Congress, APC, witnesses confirmed some irregularities during the 2019 general elections in the state. The APC witnesses, Mr Sani Inusa, Munzeli Lawal and Abdullahi Maigoro, gave some startling revelations on results sheets of their respective polling units in Jos North Local Government Area. Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Useni (rted) of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,  is challenging the victory of Governor Simon Lalong of APC in the 2019 polls at the tribunal sitting in Jos, Plateau State. On resumption of hearing of Lalong’s and INEC defence, yesterday,  Sani 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 Exhibits P94 and P94A and tell us whether the alterations done on the original copy of the result sheet reflected 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 were additions on the copies.“The additions were done with the consent of all party agents.” Also testifying, during cross examination, Maigoro, APC agent, told the tribunal that the alterations 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 did 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.” Mr Garba Pwul, SAN, however, told the tribunal that the witnesses that testified 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. 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. The tribunal adjourned the case till today for continuation of hearing of defence.

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