KATSINA 2011: TRIBUNAL WATCHES VIDEO OF SUSPECTS CAUGHT RIGGING

By NBF News
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The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Katsina State, Wednesday had the opportunity of seeing some of the suspects caught rigging the April 26 poll in the state.

It was just a glimpse of the video, recorded on a compact disc by the Director General of Aminu Bello Masari 2011 Campaign Organization and former secretary to the katsina State Government during late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua's tenure as then Governor of Katsina, Dr. Inua Mustapha. The tribunal stopped the video having satisfied itself that the compact disc it had admitted as exhibit was relevant to Masari's petition challenging the victory of Governor Ibrahim Shema at the poll.

The preview of the disc that was contested by the lead counsel to Governor Shema, Chief Wale Olanipekun, on the ground that Dr. Mustapha was not a police officer or one of the detectives, who reportedly paraded the suspects on April 26 before newsmen in Katsina, was part of a television programme said to have been aired by a private television station.

Olanipekun's objection was waved aside by the tribunal, Chairman, Justice Florence Jombo-Ofo, who held that adequate foundation for the admissibility of the material had been laid by the lead counsel to Masari, James Ocholi, SAN. Before seeing the video, the tribunal also admitted a Certified True Copy of the charges preferred against the suspects at the Katsina Chief Magistrate's Court that was tendered by Dr. Mustapha.

He also claimed that the April 26 governorship poll was characterized by multiple voting and thumbing as well as ballot boxes snatching and stuffing among other irregularities. In almost all the cases, Masari's witnesses told the tribunal that the agents of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) allegedly gave textile materials, detergent soap and money to potential voters and electoral officials to induce them to compromise the election, where there was any.

They also identified the clothing materials earlier admitted as exhibit by the tribunal as the type that were also given out to eligible voters in their areas.'I saw voters, agents and electoral officers receiving money from PDP agents. I don't know the names of all the PDP agents but they had PDP tags,' said Babangida Adamu, CPC faithful in Mashi Local Government Area, who testified in support of Masari's petition.

Ibrahim S. Ahmed, another CPC witness, submitted that there was no election in Kankara Local Government Area during the April 26 poll and there was no declaration of winner or loser in the area.