Laleye Dipo in Minna
The governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Minna, Niger State, will thursday decide if it will order the arrest of Colonel Sani Bello (rtd), father of the state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, and four others.
The others are the former Registrar of the National Examination Council (NECO), Professor Promise Okpalla; the acting Registrar, Alhaji Abubakar Gana; the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as well as the Mokwa Local Government Area.
The tribunal reserved ruling till June 20 following an application by Mohammed Ndayako, counsel to the petitioner, Alhaji Umar Mohammed Nasko, who said the request was as a result of the refusal of those concerned to honour a subpoena issued on them to appear before the tribunal.
Ndayako in his submission noted that government agencies like NECO should ordinarily be worried that an examination body would sit back and watch its documents being forged and refuse to come to court to protect the sanctity of their results or examination.
The counsel said such bodies should jump at the opportunity provided by the tribunal to catch the suspects.
The governors’ father, Colonel Bello, was to defend the age of his son while the former registrar of NECO and the incumbent are being asked to clarify the academic certificates tendered by Governor Bello and his deputy, Alhaji Ahmad Muhammad Ketso, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the election.
In his response, J.S. Okutepa (SAN), representing the first respondent, Governor Bello, objected to the application “because the persons named were not served in person.”
Okutepa also said the tribunal cannot issue the bench warrant on those concerned since they were not listed as witnesses in the petition before the tribunal
Chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice John Igboji, reserved ruling on the application till June 20, 2019.
The PDP candidate in the March governorship election in the state, Nasko, had dragged the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bello, and his deputy, Ketso, before the tribunal, accusing them of falsifying the academic and birth certificates submitted to INEC a “gross violation of the electoral act” during the governorship poll.