By Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Niger State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Friday ordered the father of the state governor, Col. Sani Bello, and four others to appear before it on Thursday, June 27, 2019.
Others to appear before the tribunal are a former Registrar of the National Examination Council (NECO), Prof. Promise Okpalla; the incumbent Registrar, Alhaji Abubakar Gana; the Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as well as the Education Secretary of Mokwa Local Government.
The tribunal also ordered a fresh service on the individuals who are expected to tender documents and testify in respect of the academic certificates presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello and his deputy, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, for the purpose of the March 2019 governorship election.
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice John Igboji, who ordered a fresh service on the affected persons, said that the initial service of the subpoena on them was defective as they were not personally served.
Justice Igboji said that only the Mokwa Local Government Education Secretary was personally served but failed to show up before the tribunal, stressing that though “his action amounted to contempt, the petitioner could adduce secondary evidence in his place”.
The tribunal held that the other subpoenaed witnesses could not have committed contempt of court as they were subpoenaed to appear on June 20, while the petitioners sought for their arrest on June 19.
Mohammed Ndayako, the counsel to the petitioner, Umar Mohammed Nasko and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had on Wednesday asked the tribunal to issue bench warrants against the subpoenaed witnesses for their failure to appear before it.
The governorship candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Nasko, and his party, the PDP, had dragged the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Sani Bello, and his deputy, Ketso, before the tribunal for allegedly presenting forged academic and birth certificates to INEC apart from violating the electoral act.