Ahmad Tijjani Abdul; Onoja Audu
Kano / Jos – The Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has upheld the victory of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje in the March 2019 election in the state.
Similarly, the Governorship Election Petition Tribunals in Jos and Sokoto on Wednesday affirmed the elections of Governors Simon Lalong and Aminu Tambuwal of Plateau and Sokoto, respectively.
The chairman of the Kano three-member panel, Justice Halima Shamaki, declared that the petition of the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and its candidate, Abba Kabir-Yusuf, challenging the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) lacked merit.
Justice Shamaki, in the lead judgment, dismissed the application of the petitioner and candidate of the PDP, Kabir-Yusuf, on the grounds that the PDP and its candidate were not able to prove the case of substantial violation of the Electoral Act.
The tribunal chairman stated that the reliefs sought by the petitioners were contradictory and mutually exclusive and, therefore, could not be granted since they were not sought for in the alternative.
Shamaki posited that the failure of the petitioners to include results of the votes secured by all the contestants in the March 2019 election was fatal to their case.
She said INEC was right to declare the March 9 election inconclusive and pointed out that the participation of the petitioners in the March 23 re-run election amounted to a waiver of the claims of winning the election.
According to her, “It is only when a petitioner proves his case before the tribunal that he will have a case; the petitioners failed to prove the exact number of valid votes in each polling units.”
The tribunal struck out some paragraphs of the petition because they were just speculations and held that the petitioners failed to give the number of votes for the March 9 election by tendering certified true copies of result sheets.
“Some Local Government Area (LGA) results like Wudil, Magwan, Nasarawa and Gama Wards presented were not stamped, apart from that, they were not true certified copies,” she said.
Shamaki said the Gama Ward result presented was written with pen, which was carted away by the petitioners.
He also said that since results were carted away in some polling units, leading to over-voting, INEC had to order for a rerun according to the Electoral Act, as amended.
“INEC has proved that the March 9 election was marred by violence; that was why the election was cancelled in some units,” he said.
He held that the PDP candidate failed to establish his petitions against Ganduje, saying that the cancellation of 207 polling units was constitutional and valid.
“The petitioners failed to discharge the burden of proof placed on them by the law,” Shamaki said.
She called on the people of the state to stay in peace. “Let there be peace, Kano is my second home.
“We have done our best; we still have the Court of Appeal, please let’s make peace, that is the only way you can repay us for staying in Kano for six months,” Shamaki added.
In the meantime, Kabir-Yusuf, candidate of the PDP, has rejected the tribunal’s verdict.
A statement by Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa said: “Our notice of Appeal is ready and we will take it to Kaduna tomorrow.”
Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje has described his victory at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in the state as “another round of victory” for the electorate in Kano.
Tribunal Affirms Gov. Simon Lalong’s Election
Similarly, the Plateau Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Jos on Wednesday affirmed the election of Gov. Simon Lalong.
Sen. Jeremiah Useni of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is challenging the election of Lalong in the March 9 governorship poll.
Useni prayed the tribunal to declare him winner of the elections, alleging the disparity in the names supplied by Gov. Lalong in form CF001.
Delivering judgment, a panel of three justices led by Justice Halima Salami, held that the petitioners did not adequately prove their case.
The tribunal held that the information made in form CF001 by Lalong bordering on the disparity of name, was not fundamental in nature.
The tribunal also held that the petitioners failed to prove their allegation of electoral irregularities bordering on falsifications of results and over voting against Lalong and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking after judgment, Pius Akuboh (SAN), counsel to the APC and Gov Lalong, commended the tribunal for the verdict.
Akuboh said that the tribunal commendably dealt with all the issues raised and canvassed by the parties from all angles.
“This include the qualification of the second respondent to contest the election, allegation of over voting, corrupt practices and noncompliance to electoral law.
“Painstakingly the tribunal considered interlocutory matters raised by the respective counsels to the parties.”
Also speaking, Edward Pwajok (SAN), counsel to Useni and the PDP, said that they were not satisfied with the verdict of the tribunal.
“There are many bus stops in judiciary and that we will challenge the verdict in a higher court.”
Sokoto Guber: Tribunal Affirms Tambuwal’s Victory
Equally, the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, in Sokoto State on Wednesday in Abuja affirmed the election of Gov. Aminu Tambuwal.
The three-man tribunal dismissed the petition of the APC and its governorship candidate, Ahmed Aliyu, for lacking in merit.
In delivering judgment, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Abbas Bawale, said the petitioners had failed to establish their claims to noncompliance with the Electoral Act and the issue of over voting.
Bawale also said the evidences of the petitioners’ witnesses especially witness number ten amounted to hearsay which could not prove any of the allegations.
Aliyu had gone to the tribunal seeking to upturn the victory of Tambuwal of the PDP in the 2019 governorship election.
The governorship election which held on March 9 was declared inconclusive following cancellation of 75, 403 votes which were higher than the 3, 413 votes margin between the leading candidates.
The re-run was then conducted on March 23, which led to the victory of Tambuwal who won with a slim margin of 342 votes.
Dissatisfied with the outcome, Aliyu approached the tribunal challenging the return of Tambuwal as the governor-elect, on the grounds that the election was marred with irregularities.
Tambuwal and PDP had objected to the petition, which the tribunal unanimously dismissed.