The Oasis Reporters
July 31, 2019
By Moses Gbande, Jos
The All Progressives Congress, APC Tuesday closed its defense in the ongoing Governorship Election Petition tribunal sitting at the High Court, West of Mines, Jos, the Plateau State Capital.
The counsel to the APC. Barr. Garba Pwul, (SAN) has on Tuesday called eight witnesses, out of which two of them were not recognized in the eyes of the law, even as their appearances threw the APC’s counsel in a state of confusion. One of them, Alhamin Adams who said he was an APC agent at Lamingo Junction polling Unit, code 038, was not allowed to proceed, following an application by the witness in chief, who applied for the withdrawal of his witness from the witness box.
There was no objection to his application from first and second respondents’ counsels, but the application met stiff resistance from the petitioners’ counsel, Barr. Benson Igbanoi, who said the application by the 3rd respondent’s counsel lacks legal acceptability, and as such the application be thrown to the out. His argument was on grounds that the witness had already been called to the witness box, and had been allowed to take the stand after being on oath, and was graciously cross examined by the witness in chief, to identity some documents, which he had already done.He added that it would amount to a breach of judicial proceedings if at that point in time, the witness is allowed to withdraw without he being cross examined by other counsel, the circumstances.
His lordships however ruled that the witness should face the fire of cross examination. But on cross examination, Alhamin Adams told the tribunal that he worked as an APC agent during the governorship election at code 004, Fushom polling unit, in Jos East and Lamingo junction polling unit 038 in Jos North at the same time.
Another APC witness from Shendam LGA, who identified himself as Peter Damulak said he worked as agent at Shimanka polling unit 004 and the result of the election showed that accredited voters were 352, while the number of valid votes was 358, showing that there was over voting.
The situation forced the 3rd defendant’s counsel to discontinue with the calling of witnesses, and applied for a stand down, which the court adjourned for an hour.
On resumption from the break around 2:30pm the counsel to the 3rd defendant, Garba Pwul, informed the tribunal that they have exhausted their witnesses and would want to close their defense, which was not opposed by any counsel.
At this stage, the Tribunal adjourned to August 15, 2019 to allow parties prepare for their final adoption of written addresses. The parties have been given 5 days each to submit written addresses with well cited authorities, and 2 days each to respond on the points of law.
It will be recalled that Senator Jeremiah Useni of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP who is challenging the election of Governor Simon Bako Lalong of the All Progressives Congress, APC had called a total of 71 witnesses and tendered over three hundred exhibits within ten days before closing their case on July 17, 2019. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, preferred not to call any witness, but to call for evidence, especially exhibit, PW 71, which was the subpoena witness who testified as the head of operations and logistics of the INEC headquarters, Jos, Mr. Yagba Kundu.
The second witness, Simon Bako Lalong had indicated interest in calling many witnesses but ended up calling only six before closing his case.