By Mumini AbdulKareem
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections in Kwara State, Hon Razak Atunwa, has asked the Elections Petitions Tribunal in Kwara to order the conduct of a fresh election.
Atunwa, who is challenging the victory of AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election, made the call in Ilorin on Wednesday as the tribunal commenced the pre- hearing trial in the petitions.
The Action Alliance (AA) is also challenging the victory of the APC’s candidate.
The counsel to Atunwa and the PDP in the state, Kingsley Odeh, said that the winner of the election, AbdulRazaq was not qualified to contest.
“Our ground was that the second respondent at the time of election was not qualified. He gave false certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Second, that he gave false information in aid of his educational qualification. In other words, when such prayers are made, the tribunal will have to nullify the election and order for a fresh election. That’s what we are seeking before the tribunal. We seek for fresh elections because the proper thing is that if the second respondent is disqualified, it is to order for fresh elections and not for the petitioner to be sworn in as the rightful winner,” he said.
At the pre-hearing session, meant to adopt petitioners’ answers to pre-hearing information sheet, applications before the tribunal were filed and adopted.
The lead judge in the tribunal, Justice Bassey Effiong, who warned counsel against time-wasting, said that the tribunal would not extend the 14-day period for the pre-hearing trial.
Justice Effiong suggested that the petitions be consolidated by the counsel.
However, counsel to INEC, Rowland Otaru, said that the petition cannot be consolidated with that of Action Alliance, saying that each petition should be treated on its own merit.
“There are different issues raised in the two petitions and there are different counsels,” he argued.
Otaru, who also argued that the tribunal proceedings would not take longer time than necessary, said that issues raised are documentary and witnesses are few.
He also said that the petitioner did not file reply to INEC pleadings, adding that it is a confirmation that INEC pleadings are solid.
The tribunal sitting continues on Thursday as it will sit consecutively for 14 working days for the pre-hearing trial before the real trial.
…court fixes June 10 for trial
By Mumini AbdulKareem
An Ilorin High Court, presided over by Justice Adenike Akinpelu, has fixed June 10, 2019 for mention in a suit accusing Kwara State Governor-elect, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of submitting forged WASCE certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to contest the March 9,2019 gubernatorial election in the state.
One Adekunle Oluwafemi Abraham, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Apado ward, Ilorin East Local Government Area of the state had instituted the case with suit number KWS /73/2019 against Abdulrazaq, contesting the authenticity of his WASCE certificate.
The claimant in his statement on oath said that, “While examining the personal particulars of the defendant, he was curious about the purported West African Examination Council (WAEC) school certificate No. SC180683 purportedly dated June, 1976 of the defendant particularly, the way the defendant’s name is written as” RASAQ A R” which from my personal experience, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) as a standard examination body in West Africa do not normally abbreviate names on the school certificates issued by it.
“That the way and manner the defendant’s name appears on his purported West African Examination Council (WAEC) school certificate No. SC180683 dated June, 1976 raised my suspicion that the said West African Examination Council (WAEC) No. SC180683 dated June, 1976 could not have been issued by West African Examination Council (WAEC) and I reported my suspicion to my political party, Peoples Democratic Party( PDP) which promised to look into my complaint of my suspicion .
“That I also know as a fact that the defendant did not sit for West African Examination Council School Certificate and was therefore not issued with the purported West African Examination Council (WAEC) School Certificate No. SC180683 dated June, 1967 submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the defendant. ”
The claimant in his statement of claim contended that “the West African Examination Council (WAEC) School Certificate No. SC180683 allegedly issued to the defendant by West African Examination Council (WAEC) in June 1976 and submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is a false document. The claimant shall apply to this Honourable court to issue subpoena on West African Examination Council (WAEC) to produce the original of the said certificate”.
He further contended that the documents submitted by AbdulRazaq as his educational qualification was not issued by WAEC and thus, the defendant was not qualified to contest for the office of Governor of Kwara state.
Abraham further urged the court to declare that the APC candidate lied on oath and submitted forged documents to contest the gubernatorial elections.
Speaking with journalists after the court session on Tuesday, the claimant’s lawyer, Oludele Lawrence Ola, said that the defendant lawyer was yet to file a defence but only filed a memorandum of appearance.
According to him, the claim of his client was that the defendant had given false information about his certificate.
He noted that the claim that the defendant got his WAEC certificate in 1976 was false according to his client.
Also speaking, the defendant’s lawyer, Lawal Jimoh who said that his client was served the notice of the suit on May 2, 2019, added that appearance was filed immediately.
He revealed that his client, the Kwara State Governor-elect, got his WAEC result from Government College, Kaduna with full evidence of WAEC result obtained from the school in 1976.