John Adams, Minna
The governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Minna, the Niger state will today, June 20, rule on whether or not to issue bench warrant on Colonel Sani Bello, the father of the Niger state governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, the former and the incumbent Registrar of the National Examinations Council (NECO) and two others for failure to appear before the tribunal.
The two others are the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as well as the education secretary of Mokwa Local Government Area. This followed an application by counsel to the petitioner, Mohammed Ndayako, and the PDP governorship candidate in the 2019 election, Alhaji Umar Mohammed Nasko, who said the request was as a result of the refusal of the afore-mentioned to honour a subpoena issued on them by the tribunal.
Alhaji Ndayako, in his submission before the tribunal regretted that government agencies, like NECO should ordinarily be worried that an examination body would sit back and watch it’s documents (result) being forged, and refuse to appear in court to protect the sanctity of their results or examination.
According to the counsel in his argument, such bodies should jump at the opportunity provided by the tribunal to catch the suspects.
While the governor’s father, Colonel Bello (retd), was expected to appear before the tribunal to clarify the age claim by the governor in his document submitted to the INEC, the former registrar of NECO, Professor Promise Okpala and the incumbent registrar, Mallam Abubakar Gana, are to appear before the tribunal to clarify the authenticity of NECO’s certificates tendered by governor Bello and his deputy Alhaji Ahmed Muhammad Ketso to the INEC before the election.
However, in his response, J.S. Okutepa (SAN), counsel to the first respondent Alhaji Bello, objected to the application on the ground that the persons named were not served in person.
Okutepa also argued that the tribunal cannot issue bench warrant on those concerned since they were not listed as witnesses in the petitioners’ petition before the tribunal.