By Peter Duru
There was a mild drama, yesterday, at Benue State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi when a witness of All Progressives Congress, APC, and its gubernatorial candidate drew the ire of the tribunal after he denied the names he swore under oath as his name and claimed other names.
The witness, PW54, had under oath swore that his name was Jirgba Jacob Teghtegh from Iser Market Square in Buruku Local Government Area, who complained of over-voting in his polling unit told the tribunal that as an agent of the APC he was the first person that voted in his polling unit on the day of the governorship election.
The witness, however, faltered during cross-examination by counsel to Governor Samuel Ortom of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Sebastian Hon, who gave him the voters register of his polling unit to identify his name.
After going through the register, the witness identified another name, Jooji Iornumbe, which did not vote during the governorship election as his name.
When asked to tell the court his name as it appeared on his Permanent Voters Card, he replied: “Jooji Iorwuese” which was also not found on the voters’ register of the said polling unit.
During cross-examination by PDP counsel, Mr Oba Maduabuchi, the witness was asked to write down his name and date of birth and he ended up writing Jooji Iorwuese’ as against the Jirgba Jacob Teghtegh he swore to in his oath and the Jorji Iornumbe, which he claimed on the voter’s register.
It was at this juncture that the tribunal chairman, Justice Adebola Olusiyi cautioned the witness against bearing multiple names which were an offence under the law.
Olusiyi also told him that “under normal circumstances, you would have been taken to the police for necessary action but the court would allow you to go and not to sin again.”