Confusion at Kogi Tribunal as SDP witnesses disown depositions

April 1, 2024

2.1 min readCategories: Politics

 

The Kogi Election Petitions Tribunal, convened in Abuja, witnessed an intriguing development on Monday as several witnesses renounced their earlier testimonies before the panel.

Representing the Social Democratic Party (SDP), four individuals from Adavi Local Government Area shared consistent accounts of their voting experiences during the November 11, 2023 governorship poll, despite being stationed at different polling units.

Initially affirming their witness statements under oath, they later contradicted themselves during cross-examination by the defense counsel.

Disclaiming their previous assertions, they alleged that the depositions were not authored by them and clarified their roles as ordinary voters, not polling agents.

Notably, one witness, Rufai Muhammed, had originally claimed in his deposition that there were no validly accredited voters during the 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.

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 Governor 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 Governor Usman Ododo of the APC in the November 11, 2023 governorship election.

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About the Author: Yetunde Ogunmola

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