Masari VS Lado: 557 witnesses to testify for Lado, Masari in ongoing election tribunal
The ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC), in Katsina State and the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, have assembled a total of five hundred and fifty seven, (557) witnesses to testify for them before the Katsina state Governorship, National and State House of Election Petition Tribunal which, on Friday, concluded its pre-hearing session on the election result petition, The Nation reports.
It could be recalled that the People’s Democratic Party(PDP) and its Governorship candidate at the election, Senator Yakubu Lado had headed for the tribunal challenging the March, 9 elections where Governor Aminu Bello Masari of All Progressives Congress(APC) was declared the winner.
Senator Lado and PDP had dragged Governor Masari, APC, the respondents and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the tribunal, alleging that the state 2019 Governorship election was fraught with malpractices.
Lado and the PDP are also alleging that Governor Masari’s educational qualification to contest in the election is questionable.
All issues concerning pre-hearing on the petition were completed on this date with the tribunal fixing 10, June 2019 as the commencement date thus paving the way for the full hearing of the petition on day to day basis to commence June 10 which is the new adjourned date
At Friday’s sitting, Lead counsel for Senator Lado and PDP, Goddy Uche, SAN, told the tribunal that his clients would line up 200 witnesses during the hearing of the petition.
Governor Masari’s lead counsel, Dr. Joseph Olatoke also told the tribunal that his client would line up 298 witnesses.
APC lead counsel, Dr. Hassan Liman, SAN also told the tribunal that the party would line up 24 witnesses while INEC lead counsel, Samuel Ziviri said 35 witnesses will testify for the commission.
Governor Masari’s lead counsel had earlier argued three applications before the tribunal, one of which was dismissed.
The first application challenged the competence of the petition while the second application urged the tribunal to strike out some of the replies made by Senator Lado and PDP to Governor Masari’s replies to their(the duos) petition.
The tribunal differed ruling on the two applications until the final verdict to be given on the petition. On the third application which urged the tribunal to disallow scanning of the ballot boxes and other materials used during the election, the tribunal, however, dismissed the application
The three-member tribunal in a ruling by a member, Justice Augustine Ityonyiman, said dismissing the application “does not mean lack of fair hearing.”