October 10, 2011

Kaduna North senatorial: Tribunal orders recount of ballot papers

KADUNA—The National and State Assemblies Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kaduna weekend ordered the re-count of the ballot papers used during the last April 28 poll in the Kaduna North Senatorial District.

The re-counting of the ballot papers followed a request by the petitioner and former Governor of the state, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, PDP.

Makarfi who alleged that the election was rigged in favour of his opponent, Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed, CPC, prayed the tribunal to order the recount to enable it discover the actual winner of senatorial seat in the district.

Makarfi had also tendered about 158 exhibits which included forms EC8 A, B and E and ballot boxes for 53 wards in seven out of the eight local government areas of the zone.

Earlier, tempers had risen among the members of the tribunal when counsel to the Baba- Ahmed, Abbas Ibrahim accused the tribunal of trying to stop him from talking.

This was sequel to the ruling of the tribunal on an application brought by Makarfi’s lead counsel, Yunus Ustaz Usman, and consented to by the Chairman of the tribunal, Mr. Daniel Kalio, that the ballot papers be recounted.

This led to some unfriendly exchanges, but Ibrahim later apologised for his utterances.

Kalio ordered that the ballot papers be counted “in the full glare of everybody in the open court.

Makarfi has alleged that ballot papers from the 51 wards were stuffed with fake and unstamped ballot papers, which aided the victory of Baba-Ahmed and prayed the tribunal to admit all the exhibits in evidence.

Baba-Ahmed’s counsel did not object to the exhibits tendered by Makarfi’s counsel.