There was drama on Tuesday at the governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Birnin Kebbi as the principal of Sultan Abubakar College, Sokoto said the Kebbi State deputy governor did not graduate from the school.
The Deputy Governor, Senator Umar Abubakar, claimed he finished from Sultan Abubakar College, Sokoto in 1979. But the principal of the school disowned the deputy governor by tendering 15 documents before the governorship election petitions tribunal.
The principal, Muhammed Zayyanu Umar, while being cross examined by counsels to the Governor and Deputy Governor insisted that there was no records in the school to support the testimonial allegedly given to him from the college because his name was not in the list of the 1979 graduands of Sultan Abubakar College, Sokoto.
The Peoples Democratic Party Governorship candidate, Maj General Aminu Bande (rtd) is challenging the victory of the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Nasiru Idris and his Deputy Umar Abubakar in the last general election in Kebbi State .
The principal is the first subpoenaed witness to be cross examined by the respondent’s counsels after the tribunal admitted the 15 documents he presented to it.
While giving his testimonies and answering questions from the respondent counsels, Barrister Wale Agunbiade SAN, Yakubu Maikyau SAN and others, the principal insisted that based on the documents he submitted to the tribunal, the results of 1979,1980,1981 and 1982 did not carry the name Umar Abubakar alleged to be a graduand of the college within the period, particularly in 1979.
He insisted that based on the available records in his office as principal of Sultan Abubakar College, Sokoto, the deputy governor did not finish from the school in 1979.
A director in Sokoto State Ministry of Education , Abdulsamad Hamzat Yisa who was subpoeaned to testify at the tribunal said the ministry set up a committee to investigate the principal but they found that the principal was right .
Earlier, the counsels to the respondent had objected to the continuation of the hearing on the grounds that the list of witnesses were served on them around 8pm. They argued that report of pretrial indicated that parties should be served list of witnesses within 24 hours.
But the petitioner’s counsels told the tribunal that apart from the list of 15 witnesses scheduled to testify, there are other subpoenaed witnesses which are court witnesses not petitioners witnesses.
On that ground the tribunal chairman, Justice Ofem I. Ofem ruled that, on one part, agreed with the respondent counsels that since the notice served them was not within 24 hours, the tribunal will not proceed to take the witnesses but on the other hand subpoenaed witnesses which notice was served to the respondent since 12th of July to be heard.
The petitioners had called 21 witnesses,15 of them are normal witnesses while six are subpoenaed witnesses from government agencies and departments.