Kogi Tribunal: Drama as SDP Witnesses Disown Depositions 

There was a mild drama at the Kogi state election petition tribunal in Abuja on Monday when witnesses of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) disowned their depositions before the panel.

Four witnesses from Adavi LGA, Kogi state, gave their evidence before the three-member panel of justices led by Ado Birnin-Kudu.

When they were called to testify, the witnesses gave similar accounts of what happened on November 11, 2023, during the governorship election, though they were from different polling units.

They all adopted their written witness depositions on oath.

However, during cross-examination by the defence counsel, they made claims different from what is in their depositions.

Upon viewing their deposition, they denied writing it and clarified that they were random voters rather than polling agents.

Rufai Muhammed, one of the witnesses, had stated in his deposition that there was no validly accredited voter for the election.

But, upon cross-examination, Muhammed said he was validly accredited to vote before voting.

When his attention was drawn to his witness deposition on oath, he denied writing the testimony.

Another witness, Yakubu AbdulAzeez, in his deposition, said he stood at a particular point throughout the voting period on election day observing the proceedings noting that it was from that point he saw that there was over-voting.

AbdulAzeez, however, contradicted his claim, insisting that he could not stand during the tribunal hearing.

The witness told the panel that he had been suffering from a leg problem since 2008. The panel directed that he should be given a seat.

Claiming that he stood for hours in a spot to monitor an election that took place in November 2023 thus became an issue of concern.

Also, Hamza Abdul Azeez, another witness said he wrote a letter of complaint to the tribunal that there was over-voting.

But when asked how many votes each political party scored in his polling unit, Abdul Azeez said he did not know.

The witnesses claimed that their lawyers wrote their depositions for them, but added that they could not remember the names of the lawyers.

The tribunal adjourned the matter until April 2.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Usman Ododo, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the winner of the Kogi state governorship election.

Ododo polled 446,237 votes to defeat Murtala Ajaka, SDP candidate who came second with 259,052 votes, and Dino Melaye, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 46,362 votes.

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