Election Tribunal: El-Rufai closes defence after two witnesses

Governor Nasiru El Rufai of Kaduna State, on Wednesday closed his defence before the state Governorship Elections Tribunal after calling two witnesses.

The petition was instituted by the Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate, Isa Ashiru, seeking to upturn the declaration of El-Rufai as winner of the Kaduna state governorship election.

At Wednesday’s sitting, El-Rufai’s second witness, DSP Olufemi Ayodele (rtd), a Forensic and a Hand Writing expert, adopted his written statement as evidence before the tribunal.

In the statement, he deposed that that only a few of the Petitioners’ witnesses signed the documents they tendered before the tribunal.

It said: “After analyses of the signatures on the statement of oath, it was found out that only three persons were responsible for the signing of about 624 signatures of the petitioners.

 “One of them was solely responsible for signing 471, another person signed 144, the third person signed nine signatures.”

Under cross examination, Ayodele said that he was not a consultant, but a professional.

However, the petitioners’ counsel, Elisha Kurah (SAN), referred him to paragraph five of his deposition, where the witness referred to himself as a principal consultant.

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Ayodele clarified that he had referred to himself as a consultant in the document as a way of introduction, but as a witness in court, he was a professional.

The petitioners’ counsel asked the witness if he was paid to do the job of a Forensic Analyst and the witness answered in the affirmative.

He, however, declined to disclose his professional fee before the tribunal.

The witness said that he had no allegiance to the person that hired him, and explained that his testimony was given to assist the tribunal as best as he could to make their work easier.

When asked if he knew the theory of forensic analysis, which suggests that analysts tend to favour those who hired them, the witness said that he was not aware of such theory.

The witness, however, agreed with the petitioners’ counsel that accidental and natural variations do occur in signatures.

Kurah then tendered a document titled “Adversarial Allegiance amongst expert witnesses”.
The 2nd and 3rd respondents, however, opposed the document through their counsel.

The tribunal adjourned until Thursday to enable the third respondent, the All Progressives Congress to continue with its defence.

Speaking after the proceedings, Abdul-Hakeem Mustapha (SAN), counsel to El-Rufai, said it was not about how many witnesses one produced, but the quality of witnesses presented.

Mustapha said the two witnesses presented by the 2nd respondent, Gov. El-Rufai, had provided sufficient evidence to defend his mandate before the Tribunal.


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