Tribunal did not order INEC to produce AbdulRazaq certificate, say counsel
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday tendered two documents before the Governorship Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital.
The documents which are ECAD and ECAE forms contained the results of the election across the 16 local government areas and declaration of results for the office of the governor of the state.
INEC added that the documents affirmed that All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq was the winner of the election.
Tendering the document at the resumed sitting of the tribunal on the pre-hearing session, INEC counsel Rowland Otaru (SAN) told the tribunal that “those are the documents we have now at this pre-hearing session. Every other document will come in during the real trial.”
Speaking with reporters at the end of the sitting, Mr. Otaru said: “The documents I tendered today are forms ECAD and ECAE to show that Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq was duly the governor of Kwara state in the March 9th, 2019 elections. It is to show to the whole world that he was duly elected.
“The tribunal did not at any time, order INEC to produce the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) certificate of Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq. On our own side, the documents we pleaded were used for the conduct of the election. The onus lies on the petitioner to verify the genuineness of his certificate.
“The governor-elect has pleaded his certificate which is very genuine. There is nothing like falsification of result or whatever. They are there. They are public records. It is not something to be hidden. The documents the governor-elect tendered met the requirements of the law.”
Corroborating the senior advocate of Nigeria AbdulRazaq, Salman Jawondo discountenanced the allegation that court ordered INEC to produce AbdulRazaq WAEC result in court on Wednesday.
“You see PDP and its client came to court to challenge the authenticity and genuineness of our client’s certificate. It is for them to prove it. The tribunal cannot assist anybody neither would they expect us to assist them to produce what they have pleaded that they said is Razak AP. That is the bottomline in this case. If they cannot produce any certificate with Razaq AP that is the end of the matter,” Jawondo added.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate Abdulrazak Atunwa are challenging the genuineness or otherwise of the WAEC certificate of Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq at the tribunal.
Earlier, Counsel PDP and its governorship candidate, Kingsley Odey did not object to the tendering of the document.
Mr. Odey informed the court that he intends to call up maximum of five witnesses, adding that one will be a document expert and the other will be subpoenaed from the West African Examinations Council (WAEC)
Counsel to AbdulrRazaq, H.O Afolabi promised to call seven witnesses, adding that the tribunal has the powers to streamline and limit the number of witnesses to call.
He urged the tribunal “to be kind enough to let us work within the timeframe allocated. That is my supplication. This is the best approach through which I can ventilate the defence of my clients.
INEC counsel was in alignment with him, stressing that “this is the best way to manage and save time. I promise to cross-examine all the PDP witnesses in one day.”
Counsel to APC Chief Yomi Aliyu said he intends to call two witnesses during real trial.
Pre-hearing conference continues on Thursday for the streamlining of trial timetable.
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