Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital yesterday validated the victory of Dr Bukola Saraki of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the winner of Kwara Central senatorial poll against Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP during the March 28 National assembly and Presidential elections.
The judgement which was delivered by the Justice Josiah Majebi ‎led three-man tribunal said the PDP candidate’s claims lacked merit.
Saraki’s lead counsel, Mallam Yusuf Ola-Olu Ali, SAN, had during the adoption of his final written address asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition, saying the petitioner failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt.
He observed that a forensic report tendered in evidence was dated March 28, 2014, a year before the contested poll was conducted.‎
Meanwhile, Kwara State chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, in a statement issued by its Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Sulyman Buhari, shortly after the sitting, hailed the judgement, saying it was an affirmation of the mandate freely entrusted with the Senate President by the good people of Kwara Central senatorial district.
The statement added that, “Kwara APC received with delight the judgement of the election petition tribunal sitting in Ilorin, which upheld the electoral victory of the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki.
“This significant judgement is an affirmation of the mandate freely entrusted with the Senate President by the good people of Kwara Central senatorial district.
“Meanwhile, it should also be noted that the court judgement is consistent with the wishes of the good people of Kwara State.”
Similarly, the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ebonyi state on Tuesday affirmed the election of former governor of the state, Dr Sam Egwu as the true winner of Ebonyi North senatorial election.
The tribunal also upheld the election of the Senator representing Ebonyi Central senatorial zone, Senator Obinna Ogba.
The duo contested under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
While Hon. Peter Ogali of Labour Party, LP, had approached the tribunal to challenge the declaration of Egwu as the true winner of the election by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, his counterpart, Chief Nnanna Elechi of LP, and Dr. Anyigor Vincent of All Progressives Congress, APC, had filed separate petitions challenging the victory of Senator Ogba.
The 3-man panel headed by Justice John Agya in separate rulings in respect to Ogali’s petition against Egwu and the petitions by Chief Elechi and Anyigor against Ogba, held that the petitioners failed to tender substantial evidences to prove that the elections of the duo were marred by corrupt practices and non compliance with the Electoral Act.
Senator Egwu and his counterpart, Senator Ogba had through their counsels prayed the tribunal to strike out allegations of corrupt practices, non-compliance to the Electoral Act and over voting alleged by the petitioners as lacking in particulars, nebulous, imprecise, and generic.
The tribunal, however, dismissed the allegations of corrupt practices and over voting alleged by the petitioners against the duo on the ground that they were ‘hear-say’ as non of the petitioners was able to call the Agents that served at the respective polling units where such allegations were made to testify as witnesses.
The 3-man panel also rejected the evidences tendered by the ‘Expert’ called by Chief Elechi as witness against Ogba as well as the evidences tendered by ‘Expert’ called by Ogali against Egwu on the ground that they were not tendered within the time limits specified by law.
It also in a similar manner struck out other evidences by the petitioners filed after the lawful time limit of 21 days from the day the result of the election was declared.
The tribunal cited the case of Ogba vs Anyigor (supra) on the admissibility of evidence tendered after 21days required by law where it said an appeal court sitting in Enugu had on May 22, 2015 held that any evidence that is not filed alongside the petition within the 21 days required by law could not be admissible in the honourable tribunal.
Recall that the Tribunal had struck out evidences brought to it by Anyigor of APC on the ground that it was not filed within the time limit required by law but he challenged the decision at the Appeal Court, Enugu and lost.
It noted that not even one out of the three petitioners was able to prove the allegations of corrupt practices and non-compliance to the electoral laws as alleged.
It also rejected other evidences that were dumped by the petitioners in the court on the ground that they could not use it to prove the allegations of over voting as alleged in the petitions.
The tribunal in its unanimous rulings, held that the petitions lacked merit and were consequently dismissed.
It therefore affirmed the declaration of Dr Sam Egwu and Chief Obinna Ogba as the true winners of the elections by INEC.
Similarly, the tribunal also affirmed the election of the member representing Ohaozara/Ivo/ Onicha federal constituency, Hon. Linus Abba Okorie of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Hon. James Aronweke of Labour Party had approached the tribunal to challenge the victory of Okorie in the House of representative election held in the area on March 28.
The petitioner had asked the court to declare the election of Okorie invalid on ground that it was marred by irregularities and corrupt practices and non compliance to the provisions of Electoral Act and guidelines for the election.
But the 3-man panel headed by Justice John Agya held that the evidences tendered by the petitioner were weak, just as there was no proof in some of the allegations.
The tribunal also ruled that most of the evidences were based on ‘hear- say’, which is not admissible in court.
On these grounds, the tribunal dismissed the petition for lack of merit.
Also, the National/State Legislative Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, Benue State capital yesterday dismissed the petition brought by Nelson Alapa of All Progressives Congress, APC against Ezekiel Adaji of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP of Otukpo/Ohimini Federal constituency election conducted on March 28.
The tribunal similarly upheld the election of Mark Gbillah and Herman Hembe, both of Gwer/Gwer West and Vandeikya/Konshisha federal constituencies. The petitions were filed by John Tion and Terhemen Hon of the PDP.
Alapa, in his petition alleged discrepancies in the conduct of the election and said it was marred by widespread falsification of results, mutilation, cancellation, impersonation, fictitious results, missing and unaccounted ballot papers as well as improper accreditation of voters.
He prayed the court to cancel the results in 48 polling units out of the 248 polling units in the federal constituencies and order a rerun.
But in his judgement, Justice David Wyom held that the petitioner failed to prove his allegation of non-compliance of the election with the Electoral Act, adding that he was supposed to show that non-compliance adversely affected the outcome of the election.
Justice Wyom also said the documents and exhibits tendered by the petitioner should have come from makers of the documents and not the petitioner’s counsel even as he accused Alapa of not calling polling unit agents as witness to buttress his allegation.


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