Kogi tribunal: Drama as 6 witnesses of SDP's Ajaka recant

yahaya, Ajaka

Governor Yayaha Bello and Murtala Ajaka, the SDP candidate in Kogi governorship election

By Taiye Agbaje

It was drama at the venue of Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abuja on Saturday as six witnesses of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) gave their evidence and were cross-examined by the defence counsel.

Upon resumed hearing, the six witnesses gave testimonies contrary to their depositions on oath.

They also confirmed that they were not polling agents as stipulated by law, but voters.

The witnesses from Okene Local Government Area, who testified, were: Isa Abdulganiyu, Aliyu Musari Abdul, Ohieku Rebeka, Abdulsalam Baki, Yakubu Dahiru and Ibrahim Majeed.

In his evidence, Yakubu Dahiru, the 10th prosecution witness, who was confronted with the contradictions between his claims and depositions during cross examination, said he was suffering from eye problem and could not see for about a year.

However, Dahiru claimed to have written his witness deposition.

Another witness, Isah AbdulGaniu from Okene Local Government Area, who told the tribunal that he was a fashion designer, said he was neither a member of the SDP nor polling agent.

He denied knowledge of Form DCE-41, which was part of his deposition.

While some of the witnesses denied averments in their depositions, some claimed they made mistakes when it was found during cross-examination that what they said in court was different from what they submitted.

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Some of the witnesses said they dictated the statement to their lawyers and later crammed it before coming to the tribunal.

In spite of the fact that their petitions showed the names of the petitioners, petition number and lawyers’ names, some of them interestingly claimed that they did not know the petitioners and their lawyers.

The testimonies of the six witnesses were similar in nature but contradictory..

adjourned until April 1 for continuation of hearing

After the 6th witness concluded his evidence, the petitioners’ lawyer, Pius Akubo, SAN, sought an adjournment.

Thee three-member panel of justices, led by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu, consequently adjourned until April 1 for continuation of hearing.

Murtala Ajaka, the candidate of the SDP is challenging declaration of Usman Ododo as winner of the September 19 governorship election by INEC.

Ajaka came second in the election according to result declared by INEC.

While Kanu Agabi, SAN, represented the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Alex Iziyon, SAN, represented Governor Usman Ododo, while Abdulwahab Muhammed, SAN, appeared for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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