By Abdullahi Faruk Birnin Kebbi
Kebbi State Governorship election petition tribunal panel sitting in Birnin Kebbi has kicked off pre-hearing session after conclusion of inaugural ceremony.
The Gubernatorial candidate of Peoples Democratic party(PDP) Bande Aminu and his party filed a petition with suit No EPT/KB/GOV/ 01/2023 Challenging victory of Governor Nasir Idris and his deputy Abubakar Umar Tafida, INEC and APC as a party before the said governorship election tribunal panel under the chairmanship of Honourable Justice Ofem Ikpi Ofem on three grounds.
The grounds are eligibility of the candidates to contest the Governorship election in Kebbi State which held on 18th March 2023 and 15th April 2023. Substantial non compliance with the provisions of the electoral act and constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and than malpractices and over voting. The Petitioners aver that Kebbi State Governorship election conducted by 1st respondant (INEC) on ,18th March 2023 and 15th March 2023 was marred by various forms of irregularities ranging from the said over voting, alterations of results sheets, non-stamping of results sheets, non-siging of polling units results, etc. All this shall be proof at the hearing stage by the petitioners.
The led counsel to petitioners Ibrahim K. Bawa SAN, confirmed to the tribunal for the petition they filed and it was served on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th respondants and all have responded via reply to the petition and petitioners also reply.
He however said that” now issues have been join and the petition is now mature to commence pre-hearing and that is why it was selected today for inaugural conference and commencement of pre-hearig and subject to mylordships we are ready.
Equally, counsels to 1st , 2nd, 3rd and 4th respondants too confirmed to the tribunal they were served with the Petitioners petition and seperately they have responded via reply to said petition and they are also ready to defend what was alleged by the petitioners in their petition before the tribunal.
The tribunal chairman Honourable Justice Ofem Ikpi Ofem after hearing the both parties proceeded with the pre-hearing session and direct both petitioners and the respondants to plead their number of witnesses intend to call and give their testimonies. The Petitioners counsel Ibrahim K. Bawa SAN, informed tribunal that” we intend to call 177 witnesses and 3 Subpeoned witnesses making the total of 182 witnesses for the Petitioners in proving their petition.
The First respondant(INEC) counsel also said we intend to call 18 witnesses and 3 Subpeoned witnesses making the total of 21 witnesses. Second respondant counsel Yakubu Chinoko Maikyau SAN, said we intend to call 8 Subpeoned witnesses.
Also, the third respondant Counsel K. K Eleja SAN, informed the tribunal they intend to call 2 witnesses and 7 Subpoened witnesses making the total of 9 witnesses. Than the 4th respondant(APC party) counsel Yahaya Abdullahi SAN, said they intend to call 162 witnesses and 8 Subpeoned witnesses making the total of 170.
Tribunal chairman Honourable justice Ofem Ikpi Ofem adjourned to the next day for continuation of pre-hearing.