Tunde Oyekola, Ilorin
The Kwara State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Ilorin, the state capital, has adjourned till Wednesday to enable the Independent National Electoral Commission to produce documents in its custody on the educational qualifications of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
The tribunal had on Wednesday commenced pre-trial conference on two petitions filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate, Razak Atunwa; and the Action Alliance.
At the resumed pre-trial hearing on Thursday, the tribunal after listening to arguments by counsel on the authenticity of the West African Examination Council’s certificate submitted to INEC by the APC’s candidate, fixed May 22 for continuation of hearing.
Counsel to the PDP candidate, Kingsley Odeh, continued his argument over the authenticity of the WAEC certificate presented to INEC by the governor-elect.
The governor-elect’s counsel, Salman Jawondo, tendered photocopy of a WAEC certificate to prove that names of candidates can be abbreviated.
But the PDP’s counsel argued that the examination body does not abbreviate surnames.
Speaking with journalists after the tribunal’s sitting, counsel to the INEC, Rowland Otaru (SAN), said, “We want to show that the certificate of the governor-elect is genuine, valid and issued by WAEC.
“They are just playing to the gallery. The photocopy brought was to show the tribunal that it is not wrong for names of candidates to have initials.
“The tribunal then asked for the original of the certificate to be brought in order to compare it with the photocopy tendered.“
But counsel to the PDP candidate said, “The photocopy of the certificate submitted for the 2019 elections reads Razaq AP.
“Now, in their response, they have annexed another document, a certificate he submitted for the 2015 general elections. That document reads Razaq A.R.
“So, they have actually assisted our case. They have made everything simple. It shows clearly that in 2019 they submitted a document with Razaq A.P. and in 2014, they submitted a document which reads Razaq A.R. That’s the conflict.
“For the purpose of clarity, WAEC does not abbreviate surnames, even if it were to abbreviate first names. Razaq A.P. and Razaq A.R. can mean that any other person can claim the abbreviation.
“In his age declaration that was attached to the documents like INEC voter card, testimonial from secondary school in Kaduna, all those documents bear his full names, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq. There was no where his name was abbreviated.”