The Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate Abdulrasak Atunwa Thursday made legal issue over the abbreviation of the names in the WAEC certificate of Kwara state governor-elect Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq at Thursday’s pre-hearing trial.
Atunwa and the PDP through their counsel Kingsley Odeh had argued that West African Examination Council (WAEC) does not abbreviate surname.
Odeh had identified the “conflict” in the documents tendered by Salman Jawondo, the counsel to governor-elect (Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq) who had submitted a WAEC certificate with Razaq A.P in 2019 and a document which reads Razaq A.R. in 2014.
According to him, “that’s the conflict”, because the photocopy of WAEC certificate tendered by Jawondo was General Education Certificate of WAEC and not that of the Senior Secondary School Examination certificate of WAEC.
But speaking after the tribunal sitting, counsel to INEC, Rowland Otaru SAN, dismissed the argument saying the petitioner got it wrong to put initials of the governor-elect as A.P.
“What the petitioners were saying in their pleadings is that Abdulrazaq A.P., but initials of the governor elect is not even A.P. It is A.R. So, even from the body of their petition, they are even wrong. We now want to show that the certificate of the governor elect is genuine, valid and issued by WAEC.
“With due respect, they are just playing to the gallery. The photocopy brought was to show the court that it’s not wrong for names of candidates to have initials. The court then asked for the original of the certificate to be brought in order to compare it with the photocopy tendered. And so be it”, he said.
Further, he said: “In the fullness of time, we are going to canvass very strong argument in respect of documents which they seemed to tender”.
However, in a swift reaction, counsel to the PDP and Atunwa said that it was actually the governor-elect’s counsel that tendered the evidences that contained Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq’s certificate that was submitted alongside other documents.
“The photocopy of certificate actually submitted for 2019 elections reads Razaq AP. Now, in their response, they have annexed another document, a certificate he actually submitted in 2014 general elections.
“That document reads Razaq A.R. So, they’ve actually aided our case. They’ve 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 surname, 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 voters card, testimonial from secondary school in Kaduna, all those documents bear his full names, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq. There was no where his name was abbreviated.
The tribunal later fixed May 22 for further hearing.