By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Twelve witnesses at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kaduna on Wednesday said that the March 9 governorship elections did not hold in many polling units of Kaduna North Local Government Area of the state.
The witnesses, who testified on behalf of the petitioners, the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), and its candidate, Alhaji Isa Ashiru, also said phantom votes were added to the declared winner of the governorship elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), in Polling units where elections were held.
They also added that elections was disrupted and marred by irregularities in some polling units where the polls was held.
But witnesses at the resume hearing said INEC officials did not show up at many polling units in the LGA on March 9.
A witness, Mr. Benjamin Augustine who served as agent of the PDP at Hayin Banki Ward collation centre, said phantom votes were added to APC based on the purported INEC certified result sheet which was different from the pink copy given to him at the end of the collation exercise.
He tendered the pink copy given to him by collation officer to the Tribunal and it was adopted by it as exhibit.
Another witness, Aliyu Mohammad who served as PDP agent, in polling units 006, told the Tribunal that “election did not take place in my polling unit, but surprisingly, I was later shown the result of the election purported to have emanated from INEC without the official stamp.”
Dan-Auta Mohammed, a witness told the Tribunal that elections did not take place at polling Unit 003, adding “I was surprised that INEC announced the result of an election that never took place.”
Similarly, witness Simon Kester, also said “election did not hold in my polling unit 018, but INEC released a result from that same polling unit which had no stamp or signature on it.”
Also, Sani Musa Danburan of polling unit 009 said “as agent of my party, I can confirm elections did not hold in my polling Unit on March 9.
“Even the result from INEC didn’t have stamp of the presiding officer,” he said.
All the 11 witnesses who served as agents of the petitioners In Kaduna North told the tribunal that INEC officials never showed up at their polling units on the said March 9, 2019 governorship elections.
Meanwhile, the Ibrahim Bako-led Tribunal adjourned to June 20th for continuation of hearing after taken 12 witnesses.
So far, about 30 witnesses from Zaria and Kaduna North Local Government Areas have testified against INEC.
It would be recalled that Mr. Zakari Muhammed, the Collation Officer for Kaduna North LGA in the March 9, 2019 governorship elections had declared that the Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), Mr. Nasir El-Rufai polled a total votes of 97, 243 while his PDP counterpart scored 27, 665.