Godwin Tsa, Abuja and Linus Oota Lafia
Election tribunals handling the petition arising from the March 9 governorship elections in Nasarawa and Katsina states respectively have affirmed the victories of governors Abdullahi Sule and Aminu Masari.
The governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Lafia yesterday affirmed the victory of Governor Sule of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the March 9th general election over David Ombugadu of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Delivering judgment, which lasted for nine hours, the three-member tribunal headed by Justice Abba Mohammed dismissed the case filed by PDP and it’s candidate on grounds that the petition lacked merit.
The PDP and it’s candidate had maintained that Sule’s election was not in compliance with the INEC guidelines and that the number of votes that returned the governor did not tally with the total number of accredited voters in the entire exercise.
In a related development, Katsina State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, in a split decision of two to one validated the election of Governor Masari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In its judgment on Friday, the tribunal held that the petitioner has failed to prove the allegation of substantial non-compliance to the electoral act in the conduct of the election.
However in his dissenting judgment, Justice Dele Omotosho allowed the petition and nullify the election of Governor Masari.
He ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct fresh election in the state within 90 days.
Justice Omotoso held that Masari was not qualified to have contested the election and that the petitioners were able to prove the allegations, which they hinged their petition.
In the majority judgment, Justice Chairman of the panel, Hadiza Alijos, and Justice Ityonuyiman, held that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations of non-compliance to the electoral act in the conduct of the election that produced Masari as winner.
Senator Yakubu Lado and his political platform, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had dragged Governor Aminu Masari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) before the State governorship tribunal challenging the result of the March 9, 2019 election.
In his petition filed by his counsel, Goddy Uche (SAN), Lado asked the tribunal to nullify the election and order for a rerun over alleged irregularities.
The PDP and its candidate also prayed the tribunal to disqualify Governor Masari who won the disputed election on the grounds that he had no requisite educational qualification to contest the election.