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Tribunal upholds Ihedioha, Sule, Masari Election victories

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The Imo, Nasarawa and Katsina Election Petitions Tribunals on Saturday dismissed all the petitions filed against the emergence of Governors Emeka Ihedioha (Imo), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa) and Aminu Masari (Katsina) as winners of the March polls in their states.

The tribunals, in separate verdicts, said the petitions lacked merit and the complainants failed to prove their cases.

All three petitions filed by the governorship candidates of the Action Alliance (Uche Nwosu); All Progressives Congress  (APC) (Hope Uzodinma ) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) (Ifeanyi Ararume),  against Ihedioha did not succeed.

It was a unanimous decision by the tribunal.

It was also a unanimous decision by the Nasarawa State Election Petitions Tribunal in throwing out the petition filed by Mr. David Ombugadu  of the  Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the election of Gov. Sule in the March 9 Governorship polls.

Delivering judgment Justice Abba Mohammed, Chairman of the Tribunal held that the PDP petition lacked merit.

The tribunal said that the petitioner failed to prove the allegation of over voting, nonvoting and noncompliance with the electoral act.

The tribunal also held that the petitioner failed to prove how collation of results was disrupted.

“The burden of prove lay with the petitioner and he has failed to prove the allegations.

“The petitioner has failed to produce two sets of results (original and fake) to prove that the outcome was falsified in favour of APC candidate.

“Hence he failed to prove that, we therefore, uphold the result declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),” the tribunal held.

Ombugadu, a two term House of Representative member challenged the election over alleged unlawful declaration of Sule as winner of the poll.

The PDP candidate had also claimed that the polls did not comply with provisions of the Electoral Act 2010.

He had also alleged intimidation of voters, unlawful cancellation of votes and malpractice during the election.

Sule polled 327, 229 votes to defeat Ombugadu of PDP who scored 184, 281 votes in the election.

Tribunal declines request to sack Masari

The Katsina State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in a two-to one split decision yesterday declined the request by the petitioners to void the return of Aminu Masari of the All Progressive Party (APC) as the winner of the last governorship election in Katsina State.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the election, Senator Yakubu Lado, had, by their petition,  challenged Masari’s victory on the grounds that he falsified his age and academic qualifications in his credentials and affidavit submitted in the nomination form he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

They also argued that the governor was not qualified to stand for election and prayed the tribunal to, among others, void the declaration of Masari as the winner.

The tribunal, in its majority judgment held that the petitioners failed to prove the allegation of substantial noncompliance to the electoral act in the conduct of the election.

It also said Masari was qualified to contest the election for the office of governor and that the name “Aminu Bello Masari” is the same as “Aminu Masari.”

It was further held, in the majority decision, that no law exists in the country that stipulates the number of names to be used in the filling of the INEC form for an election.

But in her dissenting decision, tribunal chairman, Justice Hadiza Alijos, held in favour of the petitioners, allowed the petition and ordered that a fresh election be conducted in the state within 90 days.

Justice Alijos, who was absent, had her dissenting judgment read by Justice A. B Omotoso, a member of three-man panel of the tribunal.

She held that Masari was not qualified to contest the election because the name, “Aminu Masari” is different from “Aminu Bello Masari.

The matter was highly contentious, forcing a change in the sitting venue of the state governorship election petition Tribunal from Katsina State to Abuja.

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