When Audu died, his votes became invalid, Wada tells tribunal

• Seeks nullification of election

Former Kogi State Governor, Idris Wada, while being led in evidence by Chris Uche (SAN), yesterday told the tribunal that he does not agree that all votes in the state governorship election are valid because “some are invalid and some are dead.”

“To the best of my knowledge, when Audu died, his votes died with him. Those people who voted for him did that when he was alive. Since he died, their votes have been wasted. The voters live but the votes perished,” Wada told the tribunal.

Wada, who is chief petitioner in the ongoing Kogi elections tribunal, testified as third prosecution witness (PW3) and was cross-examined by counsels to respondents in the matter before the tribunal.

While being cross-examined by counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (2nd respondent), Wada told the tribunal that the first respondent, Yahaya Bello, is a stranger to the election having not followed the process of candidature as required by law.

The witness said that he felt very sorry about the death of Audu Abubakar. He, however, also told the tribunal that Audu died with his votes and he was only voted for while he was alive.

Wada said he received information about the death of Audu Abubakar by 9.am on November 22nd 2015 as the chief servant of the state and kept the information to himself out of shock because Audu was a good friend of his.

He said although he agrees with the announcement of INEC declaring the election as inconclusive, he does not agree with the substitution of Audu with Bello. He described the candidature of Bello as invalid.

Reading paragraph 63 (A) and (B) of his witness statement on oath deposed to on December 22, 2015 while being cross-examined by counsel to Yahaya Bello (1st respondent), Mahmud Magaji (SAN), the witness said: “The first respondent was not validly nominated by the second respondent in the election. He was not validly substituted as candidate for this election.”

He informed the tribunal that though he participated and voted in the November 21 elections, he did not vote in the supplementary elections because his polling unit was not among the 91 polling units listed for the supplementary election.

Alex Izinyon, while cross-examining the witness asked him why he did not take the matter to court.

He replied: “I went to the Federal High Court in Abuja to challenge the essence of the supplementary elections. I felt that it was not necessary because I had already met 25 per cent of the requirements in each of the local councils.

“I felt that since Audu has died, I should be declared the governor.”

It could be recalled that one Mr. Joe Agada, a prosecution witness who testified on Wednesday (April 13, 2016) maintained before the tribunal while under cross-examination that: “I don’t stand by the results announced by INEC in the supplementary election especially on Yahaya Bello. Yahaya Bello did not beat Idris Wada in the scores.

The witness had also said: “You cannot give Audu’s votes to Bello. Yahaya Bello cannot inherit a dead man’s votes.”

Wada, however, appealed before the tribunal to declare him governor-elect in the Kogi governorship elections on November 21 and December 5, 2015.

The tribunal adjourned the matter to April 20 for further hearing.

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