By Demola Akinyemi
Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday, dismissed reports that it had been asked to produce the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, certificate of Kwara State Governor-elect, Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq.
Counsel to INEC, Rowland Otaru (SAN), told reporters in Ilorin that at no time did the state governorship tribunal order the body to produce a document that was clearly a public record.
According to him, “the tribunal did not at any time order INEC to produce the WAEC certificate of Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq. The governor-elect has pleaded his certificate, which is very genuine. There is nothing like falsification of result or whatever. They are there. They are public records. It is not something to be hidden. The documents the governor-elect tendered met the requirements of the law.”
Earlier at the tribunal’s pre-hearing session, the commission tendered two documents (Forms ECAD and ECAE) containing the results of the elections across the 16 local government areas and declaration of results for the office of the governor of the state.
INEC added that the documents affirmed that AbdulRazaq was the winner of the election.
Otaru told the tribunal that “those are the documents we have now at this pre-hearing session. Every other document will come in during the real trial.”
Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate Abdulrazak Atunwa are challenging the genuineness or otherwise of the WAEC certificate of AbdulRazaq at the tribunal.
Counsel PDP and its governorship candidate, Kingsley Odey, did not object to document tendered.
Odey told the court that he intended to call up a maximum of five witnesses, adding that one would be a document expert while the other would be subpoenaed from the WAEC office.
Counsel to Abdul Razzaq, H.O Afolabi, promised to call seven witnesses, informing that the tribunal had the powers to streamline and limit the number of witnesses to call.
He urged the tribunal “to be kind enough to let us work within the timeframe allocated. That is my supplication. This is the best approach through which I can ventilate the defence of my clients.”
The INEC lawyer concurred with him, saying: “This is the best way to manage and save time. I promise to cross-examine all the PDP witnesses in one day.”
Counsel to APC Chief Yomi Aliyu said he intends to call two witnesses during the real trial.
Pre-hearing conference continues on Thursday for the streamlining of trial timetable.