The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday presented 17 witnesses out of the 684 it promises to assemble as it opened its case against the declaration of Governor Nasir El-Rufai as the winner of the March 9, 2019, governorship election in Kaduna State.
The PDP and its governorship candidate in the poll, Isah Ashiru, are asking the governorship election petitions tribunal to nullify the election of El-Rufai and declare its candidate the winner having scored the majority of valid votes cast during the election.
The petitioners who joined INEC, APC and Mr. El-Rufai in the case alleged that the poll was characterised by massive rigging, ballot box stuffing and violence in 110 wards in 12 local government areas of the state.
The LGAs all of which the PDP lost to the APC as declared by INEC, include Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Igabi, Ikara, Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Kubau, Kudan, Lere, Sabon Gari, Soba and Zaria.
According to the party, the assembled 684 witnesses also included party agents and returning officers it assigned during the poll.
The PDP, at the resumed hearing on Monday, submitted names of 17 persons as the first batch of witnesses who began testifying before the tribunal.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 684 PDP witnesses are expected to testify before the tribunal within 14 days.
Earlier, the Ibrahim Bako-led tribunal had admitted in evidence various documents presented by the petitioners.
Elisha Kurah (SAN), counsel to the petitioners, had presented certified true copies (CTC) of forms from polling units, ward collation centres, and local government collation centres obtained from INEC.
Mr. Kurah also submitted INEC documents allegedly used to declare the winner of the March 9 election to the tribunal.
He told journalists that the forms allegedly contained discrepancies that would be proved before the tribunal.
Mr. Kurah said: “The forms we tendered were forms that INEC used during the election.
“Some of the forms were not signed by the agents, some were not stamped and, you find the handwriting of one person on all the forms. I mean one person wrote everything in those forms we have presented.
“The Tribunal has accepted all the documents we presented and admitted the same in evidence. There are lots of differences between those INEC forms we presented to the Tribunal and that of the PDP agents,” he said.
The counsel added: “The witnesses have been assembled to speak on the forms and the lack of genuineness of the forms we collected from INEC.”
According to him, the witnesses would present genuine copies of the documents as they testify.
The witnesses appeared based on the documents the tribunal had earlier admitted.
Counsel to INEC, Musa Aliyu, said the commission had raised an objection to some of the documents and would submit details of their objections when it addresses the Tribunal.
“The witnesses are coming to testify what happened during the March 9 poll.”
Also, counsel to the APC, Ibrahim Bawa (SAN), said his clients would present their objections in the course of the proceedings.
Mr. Bawa said the APC would also bring its witnesses to the tribunal to prove that the petitioners had no case.
The Tribunal has adjourned to Tuesday after taking three witnesses from Zaria LGA.