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DRAMA AT KWARA ELECTION TRIBUNAL

By NBF News
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A mild drama played out at the Kwara Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Ilorin on Saturday as a witness, Yakubu Aso, who had allegedly lied about his age and educational qualification, told the court during cross-examination that he was weak and could faint in the witness box.

Aso, who is the witness for the first and second respondents - Governor Abulfattah Ahmed and his deputy, Peter Kishra - had during cross-examination told the tribunal that he bagged a Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE) in 2001.

Asked to disclose his exact age, Aso said he is 21 years old.

Counsel to the petitioner, Lanre Ayanwale, then asked him to tell the court how old he was when he graduated from the Kwara State College of Education 10 years ago and he said 15.

The tribunal chairman, Ngozi Emehelu, asked that the witness be given a calculator to compute his age 10 years ago and he arrived at 11.

Aso, who claimed to have worked as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) agent for Polling Unit 003 of Alagbe Aruwe in Ajikobi Ward of Ilorin West LG, thereafter raised the alarm that he was about collapsing in the witness box. He was thereafter asked to go after Ayanwale told the tribunal he was done with the witness.

The drama followed several other incidents of PDP witnesses making statements that sharply contradicted documentary evidence before the tribunal.

On Thursday evening, more revelations of irregularities in the Kwara governorship ballot emerged as Form EC8A for Somaso polling unit 001 of Lafiagi Ward 1 showed that the result sheet for the unit was signed and dated April 2, 2011, exactly 24 days before the election was held.

The irregularity surfaced during the cross examination of one Muhammed Ladan, the PDP ward supervisor for the ward.

Ladan had also claimed in Paragraph 6 his statement on oath that 'ACN agents voluntarily did not sign the results where their party lost,' a claim that reportedly contradicted the result sheet from the ward.

Afraid that his claim would conflict with the Form EC8B, Ladan sought to change it to read that ACN signed the result. But this was blocked by the tribunal, which said it was impossible to do so.

Another PDP ward supervisor for Pakumo Ward 2 of Moro Local Government, Ishola Raheem, claimed in his statement on oath and during cross-examination by the ACN counsel that he signed the result sheet for the ward. But entries on the Certified True Copy of Form EC8B exposed the claim to be false because neither Raheem nor any other party agent signed the result.

The testimony of one Mohammed Sabah Mohammed of Kpada Ward of Pategi Local Government also became shaken after his claim to be 28 years old was found to be false as the voter's register for the area showed that Mohammed was aged 36 as at 2010 when he registered to vote.

Whereas Mohammed had claimed in his statement on oath that one Dr Timothy Gana of ACN was insincere to have told the tribunal that the ballot was fraudulent because he (Gana) was never at the polling unit, Mohammed later backtracked when he told the tribunal on Friday that he could not identify the said Dr Gana if he met him anywhere.