By Daniel Edu
The trial concerning election fraud in the Nasarawa state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal (GEPT) took a compelling turn as Governor A.A. Sule emerged as the first witness for the second respondent’s lead counsel on Thursday.
Ishaq Abubakar Dan’azumi, the witness, originating from Wuse ward and also serving as the APC Ward Agent for the Awe Local Government Area (LGA), contradicted previous testimonies by asserting that the APC votes were not diminished; rather, it was the votes for PDP that were artificially inflated.
During cross-examination, Dr. Okutepa, the PDP Lead Counsel, probed Dan’azumi about his endorsement of the ward results. Dan’azumi affirmed his signature and clarified that the results were accurately transcribed from form EC8As to form EC8BS. He further disclosed that the APC had not lodged any petitions concerning reduced votes or additional PDP votes.
The second witness, Abdullahi Hashim Danlami, who served as the APC Ward Agent for Makwakiji Electoral ward in Awe LGA, attested that the elections were conducted peacefully and without incident. He raised concerns regarding disparities in the results from a specific polling unit (PU 005), where it was claimed that APC votes were reduced and PDP votes were increased. Danlami stated that he had reported this to the INEC Collation officer, asserting that despite any doubts, his signature validated the results.
The PDP Lead Counsel’s cross-examination cast doubt on Danlami’s assertion of reporting the incident to the INEC Collation officer at the Ward level. The absence of this complaint in Danlami’s witness statement was highlighted, implying potential lack of concrete evidence. It was also revealed that his understanding of the polling unit events primarily relied on verbal information.
Abdullahi Jalal Usman, representing Akiri ward of Awe LGA, provided testimony affirming the proper use of BVAS Machines and result uploading to the IREV platform by INEC. He acknowledged errors in result calculations for some units, where both APC and PDP scores were inaccurately computed. Nevertheless, Usman commended INEC for its overall conduct.
Subsequent cross-examination by the PDP Lead Counsel exposed that Usman was not the APC ward Agent as he had claimed, and his comprehension of the results had been influenced by his lawyer’s presentation in court. His credibility was brought into question due to limited knowledge of actual polling unit occurrences.
Ahmed Abubakar Sarki, a witness from Keffi LGA, affirmed the use of BVAS Machines and result uploading to IREV. He alleged that results from two polling units, Angwan Nupawa 006 and Angwan Yorubawa 017, indicated vote tampering: APC votes decreased while PDP votes increased. However, his spoken testimony conflicted with his written statement.
Kassim Tonko Kassim’s testimony followed similar patterns, citing alterations in APC and PDP votes in Angwan Kwara of Angwan Rimi, Keffi LGA. He conceded having no substantial evidence of being an APC Agent for the mentioned units, raising doubts about his credibility. He also noted the absence of pink result copies.
Abdullahi Al-Kassim, representing Yara ward of Keffi LGA, highlighted disparities between EC8AS and EC8BS results. He implored the tribunal to rectify the allegedly manipulated votes, implicating both APC and PDP. However, concerns arose about his agent status, given discrepancies between his name, signature, and the official records for the polling unit.