The Secretary to the Kano State Government, Dr. Abdullahi Baffa Bichi has today testified as the sole Respondent Witness for the Kano State Governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, (2nd Respondent), before Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
APC, is challenging INEC for declaring Abba Kabir Yusuf as winner of the election that was conducted on March 18th.
The Petitioner is also asking the Tribunal to declare that NNPP has no candidate as Kabir Yusuf is not in their register of voters submitted to INEC at the time of the election.
Justice Watch News earlier reports that the Petitioner, (APC) closed its case with 32 witnesses. Similarly INEC (1st Respondent) closed its defense without calling any witness.
When the Tribunal resumed today for continuation of hearing, Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf, through his counsel, R A Lawal SAN called Dr. Abdullahi Baffa Bichi as witness.
In his evidence in chief, the witness said he deposited his Written Testimony on Oath before the Tribunal as his evidence.
Under cross examination, the Witness told the Tribunal that the second respondent was declared the winner of the Election conducted on the 20th of March the winner having polled 1,019,602 Votes against Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna of All Progressive Congress (APC) who scored 890,705 Votes with the margin of 128,897 votes.
“The second respondent is a bonafide member of the NNPP with registration number: NNPP/HQ/KN/GWL/DS/001.
“The membership card was issued by the national body of the NNPP through the State chapter through the Local Government chapter through the ward chapter and it’s signed by the National and Ward chairmen.”
While cross-examined by the counsel to the petitioner, Offiong Offiong SAN, the witness told the Court that he acted as the State Returning Agent for the second and third respondents at the INEC Kano headquarters level.
“The rules and regulations of the election do not require the list to have pictures but rather a photo ID pursuant to section 9 sub C of the Electoral Act.
“I acted as returning agent for the second and third respondents at the level of headquarters of INEC in the state and not at the local government. State returning agents of INEC collated this result from all the local governments at the state Coalition centres.
“As a state Collation Agent, I received the summaries that were read by the state Returning Agent of INEC gubernatorial election.
“The results are only relevant to me as Agent of the party if and when the state Returning Agent of INEC had accepted them as the full reflection of the result of the gubernatorial election of that particular LGA.
“I was at INEC Headquarters as State Returning Agent of the NNPP to protect the interest of NNPP and it’s then gubernatorial candidate, Abba Kabir Yusuf and ensure that INEC, it’s officers, staff substantially comply with the constitution of the Electoral Act and guidelines of the manual of election and I am fully satisfied that INEC and all its staff from my experience at the collation centre have substantially complied.”
Accordingly, after his testimony, Dr Abdullahi Baffa Bichi, was discharged by the Tribunal.
Justice Watch News reports that earlier there was a mild drama when counsel to the Petitioner Offiong tendered some documents as exhibit while cross-examining the 2RW1.
Counsel to INEC, Emmanuel Osayomi, objected the admissibility of all the documents by the petitioner.
“My Lord if the documents are admitted while cross-examing the witness, it will be an unfair trial”
Counsels to Kabir-Yusuf, Lawal and Counsel to NNPP, John Olusola SAN, also objected the admissibility of the documents.
“There is a witness in the witness box as we speak, the duty of the petitioner is to cross-examine not tendering of documents”
The three judge panel led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan Osadebay adjourned the matter until July 24, for the, NNPP, (3rd respondent) to open defense.