By Habibu Harisu
Sokoto – The Governorship, National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Sokoto State, on Monday dismised the petition of Isa Bashir-Kalanjeni challenging the election of Yusuf Kurdula of All Progressives Congress (APC).
Bashir-Kalanjeni contested on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during 2019 election for Tangaza/Gudu Federal Constituency and was defeated by Kurdula of APC.
Unsatisfied with the outcome of the election, Bashar-Kalanjeni, who was seeking for a fourth term in the federal legislature, approached the tribunal challenging the declaration of Kurdula as the winner, on four grounds.
The grounds were that the election was marred with irregularities and did not comply with the Electoral Act while the winner was not competent to contest and did not score the majority of lawful votes.
In his judgement, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Peter Akhihiero, said the petitioner led six witnesses and tendered exhibits while the respondent did not present any witness.
Akhihiero, however, said petitioner failed to prove the grounds raised in the petition with satisfactory evidences as some legs were abandoned.
He noted that the respondent not leading any witness did not amount to agreement to the issues, as he had conducted cross examinations and raised his case on some of the petitioner’s submission.
The Judge said malpractices and non compliance with laws needed to be proved beyond doubt and the burden was on the petitioner.
Justice Akhihiero dismissed the petition and awarded N20, 000 cost to each of the respondents against the petitioner.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Abdulhakeem Ibrahim was Bashar-Kalanjeni’s Counsel, while Chief Jacob Ochidi represented Kurdula and Mr Steve Nwoke was the Counsel to APC.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was represented by Mr Tolani Oladipo during the trial.