Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Returning Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2019 senatorial election in the Benue South Senatorial District, Professor Paul A Annune, on Tuesday gave reasons as to why he declared Comrade Abba Moro winner of senatorial election.
Annune said he declared Moro who contested on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the election because he polled 85,162, being the highest number of votes while the petitioner, Chief Steven Lawani of the All Progressives Congress (APC), polled a total votes of 47, 792.
The INEC returning officer who adopted his witness statement on oath at the tribunal, said during cross examination by counsel to Chief Lawani, Mr S O Okpale, that all the parties’ collation agents including that of the APC, Daniel Ekah, signed the results which he used to declare Moro winner of the said election.
He insisted that there was no discrepancy between the figures submitted to him from the nine local government areas in the Benue South Senatorial Distinct and the ones he used for the declaration.
While answering Okpale’s question on whether he knew the difference between accredited voters and registered voters, Professor Annune, said “my work did not extend to that one”.
On his part, Moro’s counsel, Mr K C Ikonne, while cross-examining the returning officer asked him to tell the court if he voted in the senatorial election but Annune said he did not because he did not register in the area.
Counsel to the PDP, Mr Clement Mue, however, did not ask the witness any question.
After cross-examination, the INEC lawyer, Mr M Y Saleh, SAN, who presented Annune as INEC’s witness told the court that he had closed his case.
At the end of the proceeding, the tribunal headed by Justice A A Adeleye, adjourned the case to August 21 for adoption of written addresses by the counsels.