The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Jos on Tuesday reserved judgment in the petition filed by Mr David Paradang (PDP) after all the parties adopted their final written addresses.
The tribunal, which made the declaration after listening to the parties in the matter said that the day of the judgment would be communicated to them.
Paradang, former Immigration boss and his party, PDP, challenged Mr Hezekiah Dimka, a Retired Commissioner of Police, and INEC over his (Dimka’s) victory at the March 9 NASS elections at the Tribunal.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that when the case came up on Wednesday for adoption of final written addresses, Dimka, through his lead counsels, Mr Garba Pwul, asked the Tribunal to dismiss the Paradang’s petition for lack of merit.
Pwul argued, “the petitioners have failed to prove how they were shortchanged of over 1000 votes in the five Local Governments that made up the constituency, Mangu, Bokkos, Pankshin, Kanke and Kanam LGAs.”
“They were not specific in their claim but made it general, which in law, is not proper. All we know is that they made mention of only three out of the LGAs, leaving out Mangu and Bokkos without being specific where exactly they were shortchanged.
“The omission of the two LGAs has made the entire argument not proved and by virtue of section 53 (2) of the electoral Act, their claims won’t amount to substantiating over voting .
“This is because once there is no proof of the votes exceeding the number of Registered voters, you can’t claim there was an over voting.
“Consequently, This Petition has failed and l urge your Lordship to dismiss it for lack of merit, “ Pwul pleaded.
Also speaking, Mr Sunday Obende, Counsel to APC, faulted Paradang’s taking witnesses not included in their list of witnesses and “therefore it rendered them incompetent and should be discarded.”
“Again, their claim that the result in Sabonlai in Jom Ward in Kanam LGA was cancelled does not hold water because the Returning Officer of that Ward came and testified here that he was not the one that canceled the result.
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“There is no prove through Form EC40G to show as evidence that there was any cancellation of results, therefore, l urge your Lordship to dismiss this petition for lack of merit, “ Obende argued.
Responding, Paradang’s lead counsel, Mr Sunday Oyawole, debunked all the claims of the respondents counsels, and described them as “ missing the points .”
Oyawole said that in the first place the short change in the votes were specific as “ we specifically mentioned Kanam LGA, where over 1000 votes were denied our clients.”
“The petitioners have clearly established that they were denied over 1000 votes in Kanam LGA and a prove to that is in exhibit P3 being form EC8C1, duplicate copy tendered.
“Interestingly, those figure was also confirmed by the Collation Officer of Kanam LGA. The best evidences of such shortchange was in the form and oral evidence of the Collation Officer.
“We didn’t mention other LGAs within the constituency because we have no complaints against those areas, so your Lordship should disregard that line of Paul’s argument and allow the petition,” he pleaded.
Oyawole said, “in respect to the competency of the petition, the facts and evidences clearly support the allegations of corrupt practices and non-compliance with electoral Act.”
On the 6000 votes canceled in Kanam, Oyawole said, “PW11, didn’t challenge or asked questions on why the over 6000 votes in Kanam were canceled, which were in contention in our petition,”
According to him, “exhibit P1 to P5 are clear evidences that we were short changed in Kanam and therefore we urge your Lordship to grant all the reliefs sought and allow our petition.”
NAN reports that the tribunal, after listening to all the parties involved, pronounced the reservation of the judgement date, which it said would be communicated to them soon. (NAN)