Kogi election: Confusion at tribunal as more SDP's witnesses disown depositions


Kogi SDP Governorship candidate, Murtala Ajaka

By Taiye Agbaje

The drama at the Kogi Election Tribunal sitting in Abuja continued on Monday as more witnesses called by the Social Democratic Party, SDP, disowned their depositions before the panel.

Six witnesses called by the SDP had also at the last sitting of the Tribunal disowned their depositions and claims before the panel.

On Monday, four witnesses from Adavi Local Government Area of the state appeared for the SDP before the three-member panel of justices, led by Justice Ado Birnin-Kudu.

But the drama started when the witnesses, when called, gave virtually the same narration regarding what transpired where they voted during the November 11 governorship election.

This was in spite of the fact that they were in different polling units during the election.

The four witnesses, like the previous ones, adopted their witness depositions on oath.

However, during cross-examination by the defence counsel, they made claims different from what was in the witness depositions.

When shown their deposition, they disowned it, saying it was not written by them while also confirming that they were not polling agents but random voters.

One of the witnesses, Rufai Muhammed, who said he was from Adavi Local Government, stated in his deposition that there was no validly accredited voter for the said election.

Upon cross examination, however, he said he was validly accredited to vote and he voted.

When his attention was drawn to his witness deposition on oath, which said there was no validly accredited voter for the election that he witnessed, he denied the deposition, saying he did not write it.

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Another witness, Yakubu AbdulAzeez, said he stood at a particular point throughout the voting period on election day observing the proceedings, and that it was from that point he saw that there was over-voting.

AbdulAzeez, who said he stood watching the voting process, however, could not stand during the tribunal hearing.

He told the panel that he had been suffering from a leg problem since 2008 and the panel directed that he should be given a seat.

Claiming that he stood for hours in a spot to monitor an election that took place in November 2023 thus became an issue of concern.

On his part, Hamza Abdul Azeez said he wrote a letter of complaint to the tribunal that there was over-voting.

But when asked how many votes each political party actually scored in his polling unit, he said he did not know.

The witnesses said their lawyers wrote their depositions for them, but added that they couldn’t remember the names of the lawyers.

The tribunal adjourned the matter until April 2 after Jibrin Okutepa, SAN, sought an adjournment.

While Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, represented the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ibrahim Sani Muhammed, SAN, appeared for Gov. Usman Ododo, and AbdulWahab Muhammed ,SAN, represented the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the sitting.

The witnesses who testified on Monday were Hamza Abdul Azeez, Said Muhammed, Yakubu Abdul Azeez and Rufai Muhammed, all from Adavi Local Government Area of Kogi.

It would be recalled that the SDP is challenging the victory of Gov. Ododo of the APC in the Nov. 11, 2023 governorship election in the state.(NAN)

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