From Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja
Arume Mohammed Yahaya, one of the witnesses of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the February 23 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, wept profusely in the open court on Wednesday while recalling the sporadic shootings in some parts of Kogi State that led to the death of an innocent soul.
Yahaya while testifying at the presidential election petition tribunal, for Atiku and PDP revealed how political thugs armed with dangerous weapons disrupted the election with gun shots that led voters to flee polling unit.
He said that two of the voters hit by bullets were rushed to a nearby hospital and that one of them died shortly after he was admitted.
The witness under cross-examination by Buhari’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, told the tribunal, that political thugs invaded his polling unit in Abocho in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State and fired gun shots sporadically to scare away voters.
The witness said in the confusion that followed voters deserted the polling unit and ran into different direction for safety, adding that at the end of the day election could not be conducted but votes were allocated to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
At this stage, the witness said, “I am emotional because someone died from gun shots”. Yahaya then paused for a while and started weeping.
It took the intervention of the Tribunal Chairman who encouraged him to be strong and conclude his testimony.
Yahaya, who revealed that before 2019 he was an APC member said his pain was that someone died in the election and not because PDP didn’t win.
Another witness Adamu Samuel Sule, also from Kogi State alleged that INEC officials did not give PDP agents election result on the instruction of some unnamed APC stalwarts.
Meanwhile the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Prof Mamud Yakubu was on Wednesday ordered by the Presidential Election Petition Triibunal to appear before it unfailingly tomorrow July 18, by 12 noon.
Yakubu is to appear along with the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Zamfara State, both who were subpoenaed by the Tribunal for presentation of some documents but refused to honour the summon.
Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Mohammed Garba, issued the order following complains by the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar that his petition against the election of President Muhammadu Buhari was been sabotaged by the INEC Chief following his refusal to appear before the Tribunal to tender some unnamed documents.
Atiku through his counsel, Chief Chris Uche SAN had complained bitterly to the Tribunal that Mahmoud Yakubu and INEC Commissioner in Zamfara have been frustrating him in the 10 day hearing notice given to him by the Tribunal to substantiate his allegations and claims in his petition jointly filed with the PDP.
The petitioners had filed two applications on July 9 seeking on order of court to compel INEC Chairman to physically appear before the tribunal and present certain documents listed by the petitioners and the Zamfara REC to produce the election results for Zamfara State in the presidential poll.
While that of the chairman was served on him on July 15, that of the Zamfara REC was served on him on July 12.
Counsel to the petitioners, Chief Chris Uche SAN, had on resumption of proceedings on Wednesday lamented that the commission was yet to respond to the tribunal’s subpoena served on the chairman and the Zamfara REC.
Responding, counsel to INEC, Yunus Usman SAN, told the tribunal that he was not aware of the subpoena on Yakubu but that of the Zamfara REC has been complied with, adding that they are waiting for the petitioners to pay the normal fee and collect the said documents.
But in a short ruling, Presiding Justice of the five man panel, held that orders of Court are sacrosanct and must be obeyed.
“Since the record of the Court shows that the chairman of the 1st Respondents INEC and Zamfara REC were duly served to produce documents named therein, the chairman and Zamfara REC as the legal team representing them in this matter are to comply with the order”, the tribunal held.
According to the chairman the record of the Court showed that Yakubu was served on July 15 and the Zamfara REC on July 12, but were yet to respond to the subpoena.
“They have not done so and there is no document to show.
“We note that the INEC chairman and REC were asked to produce documents on the day they were served, that is impossible.
“They have been directed to produce documents in the subpoena by 12 noon tomorrow”, he said.
However after the ruling, Atiku and PDP then called in five witnesses who testified that several booklets of ballot papers were thumb printed in Borno State and counted as lawful votes for President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC.
The witnesses said that at the end of the thumb printing allegedly done by the APC agents and aided by security agents, zero vote was allocated to the two petitioners at chibok local government.
The witnesses who came from Borno and Nasarawa States also testified that elections in Nasarawa, especially in Karu Local Government were PDP polled 22,580 and APC 9,407 the results were cancelled on the grounds that the petitioners led in the poll.
They further told the tribunal that result sheets were exchanged and in some cases allegedly rewritten to favour Buhari and APC.
Under cross examination by Buhari’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, the witnesses informed the tribunal that they did not come to Abuja with their own copies of the results having submitted them to their party in the state which in turn submitted them to the petitioners lawyers.
The five witnesses are; Iorshe David, Dangana Shau Barde, Aliu Abdullahi, Sanni Abdul and Dr Allen Manasseh.
Meanwhile, further hearing in the petition has been adjourned till Friday July 19.