As the ongoing proceeding at the Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal begins a countdown with just 49 days to the deadline of its judgment, the first respondent in the suit, the electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) closed presentation of oral witnesses on Tuesday.
INEC was set to present 29 witnesses as contained in its reply to the petition, but the electoral body took the court by surprise as it presents only three witnesses
Earlier at today (Wednesday’s) proceeding the first respondent(INEC) through its counsel, Barrister Adedayo Adedeji led the three witnesses.
The witnesses are, the INEC Electoral Officer who supervised the March 23rd governorship election Rerun at Nassarawa Local Government, Halima Sambo Hassan.
During cross-examination, Halima Sambo confirmed to the Tribunal that the March 23rd supplementary election in Gama ward of Nasarawa local government was conducted free, fair and credible, she stated that the commission had contacted DSS, the Police and Civil Defence to regenerate the result of Gama before the rerun, but exonerated herself from the decision to cancel 207 polling units including the said Gama ward which gives INEC reason to conduct a supplementary election.
Others are, INEC, Electoral Officer, who superintended over the March 9th governorship elections, in appearance was also one Idris Mohammed, who testified at the court that he had served in the capacity of an INEC Electoral Officer, during the 2019 governorship election in Kano state.
Reacting to the decision by INEC to close its hearing, prior to the expiration of the 10 days allotted for the first respondent to be heard, Barrister Offiong Offiong(SAN) disclosed that gov Abdullahi Ganduje is prepared and willing to open hearing in defense of the petition filed by the PDP, challenging his victory in the 2019 governorship polls.
In her ruling the chairman of the tribunal, justice Halima Shamaki ordered the matter adjourned to August 21st, for the 2nd respondent(Ganduje) to flag off his defense.