Former Immigration Comptroller General, Mr. David Paradang (PDP), on Friday closed his case against former Police Commissioner, Mr. Hezekiah Dimka (APC), at the Plateau Election Petition Tribunal with 13 witnesses.
Paradang of PDP is challenging the Victory of Dimka of APC in the March 9 National Assembly elections for Plateau Central Senatorial District at the Tribunal.
The lead counsel of Paradang, Mr. Sunday Oyawole, tendered a total of 109 documents with some attachments in support of their arguments and testimonies of the 13 witnesses, who were also cross-examined by Dimka’s counsels and those of APC and INEC as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Respondents respectively.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that most of the witnesses explained their roles in the conduct of the election, which they alleged was characterized by some discrepancies and insecurity.
One of the witnesses, who was subpoenaed, Dr Olutope Idowu-Oke, a University of Jos Lecturer, who served as Collation Officer for Kanam Local Government, narrated how the election was fraught with malpractices and cancellations of 6000 votes in the council.
Idowu-Oke told the tribunal that the 6000 canceled votes were from 9 different polling units in the total result that showed Dimka winning with 43, 794 votes as against Paradang’s 23, 315 votes in Kanam Local Government.
When asked how he collated the results and submitted the result to the Plateau Central Senatorial Collation Centre in Pankshin, the lecturer said it took him almost three days before succeeding in submitting the result.
“On the day of the elections, results from various wards didn’t start coming until around 12 midnight. We continued up to the two days because issues arose that led to the cancellation of results of 9 polling units involving over 6,000 votes.
“We had to use Form EC40G (complaint form) to state some of the discrepancies noted including the canceled votes and submitted it along with the result for Kanam LGA to the Returning Officer of the Central District at the Pankshin centre.
“Even when we arrived Pankshin, the tension and insecurity around the place couldn’t allow us access until the security personnel came to our assistance that we were able to enter and effect the submission, “ the witness narrated.
Another witness, Mr Danladi Sule, a Collation Officer for Kabwir Pada Ward, in Kanke Local Government, who was the 13th and last witness, told the Tribunal how the insecurity and tension that characterised the elections could not allow him and other electoral officers to perform their duties effectively.
“We were trained by INEC on how to perform our duties but there were times we couldn’t perform because of some discrepancies.
“Under normal circumstances, we were expected to sign and stamp every result and at the same time fill form EC40G, complaint form, where there are issues, but we couldn’t, “ Sule, a Staff with FCE Pankshin, stated.
After Sule’s testimony, Oyawole announced that he was through with his prosecution and asked for adjournment to enable the respondents to open up their defence.
“My Lord, with this witness, we are are closing our prosecution. We hereby apply for an adjournment to enable the respondents to open their defence, “ Oyawole pleaded.
With no objections from the respondents, the tribunal adjourned the case to July 6 for the respondents to open up their defence and continuation of hearing.