By Collins Sunday
The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Nasarawa State, on Thursday, received the star witness of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ayiwulu Baba Ayiwulu, who gave his testimony and identified some irregularities which occurred during the 2023 governorship election in the state.
The governorship candidate of the PDP, David Ombugadu, had approached the tribunal, challenging the election victory of Governor Abdullahi Sule of the All Progressives Congress.
At the resumed hearing in Lafia on Thursday, the Lead Counsel for the PDP, Jibrin Samuel Okutekpa, began his case by calling on the first subpoenaed witness who is the Head of ICT at the Independent National Electoral Commission in the state.
The witness tendered BVAS screenshot printouts of the affected polling units during the polls. However, he was only able to produce two copies as against the five copies that were expected, while claiming that the remaining three were nowhere to be found.
On his part, the second witness tagged the star witness, who was the PDP State Collation Agent during the governorship election, Ayiwulu Baba Ayiwulu, identified documents that were directly generated from the INEC BVAS IREV portal, which were not collated according to the INEC guidelines for the 2023 general elections.
The documents include Form EC8As, EC8Bs, and other related documents for both the Governorship and State House of Assembly results of the following Places; Azara Electoral wards of Awe LGA; Kanje/Aburi Electoral ward of Awe LGA; Gaiyam Electoral ward of Lafia LGA; Ciroma Electoral ward of Lafia LGA; Ashige Electoral ward of Lafia LGA; Aliwaza mada of Doma LGA; Ningo/Boha Electoral ward of Akwanga LGA; Shege and Gadabuke ward of Toto LGA and Lafia North state Assembly constituency results.
Others identified were Lafia Central State Assembly Constituency Results; Screenshots printout of BVAS results of the Nasarawa State governorship elections; Total number of Registered voters in Nasarawa State and the affected areas in question; BVAS printed form EC8As and the manual results of all the polling units in Nasarawa State.
Ayiwulu told the tribunal that the total score in form EC8As were wrongly collated in form EC8Bs in Ciroma, Gayam, Azara, and Kanje/Abuni ward, adding that the results of form EC8A of Ashige ward were unlawfully cancelled.
When the witness was crossed- examined by both the first, second, and third Respondents; counsel for INEC, APC, and Governor Sule respectively, he clearly told the tribunal that the last governorship election in Nasarawa State was characterised by so many irregularities, and appealed to the tribunal to use the original and certified true copies with them to do the correct compilation of the entire results using the available forms EC8AS which are the original pyramids of every election results.
The witness further appealed to the tribunal to look at the differences in the accreditation of the governorship election and that of the State House of Assembly Election of Lafia Central, stating that the irregularities were obvious.
After the testimony of the star witness, the PDP Lead Counsel addressed the court and announced that the party was ready to hear the defence of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respondents on the matter.
At the close of the submissions for the day, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ezekiel Ajayi, adjourned the case till August 18, 2023, for continuation of hearing.