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How political gladiators lost at tribunals

Apart from last Wednesday’s judgement at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which affirmed the election of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) against former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Daily Trust on Sunday examines other notable politicians who lost at various tribunals.

Ekiti State

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Senator Dayo Adeyeye (APC) versus Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP) 

The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Ado Ekiti, last Tuesday nullified the election of the chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Dayo Adeyeye of the APC in the February 23 election.

The three-member tribunal, chaired by Justice Danladi Adeck, in a unanimous decision, declared the former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi of the PDP as the winner of the election in the Ekiti South senatorial district.

In the judgement, the tribunal nullified election in some polling units, after which Olujimi polled 54,894 votes to defeat Adeyeye, who scored 52,243 votes.

Delta State

Senator James Manager (PDP) versus former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan (APC)

The Delta State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Asaba, the state capital, nullified the election of James Manager (PDP), the lawmaker representing Delta South senatorial district in the National Assembly.

The immediate past governor of the state and candidate of the APC for that election, Emmanuel Uduaghan had, in a petition filed by his lawyer, Thomson Okpoko, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), told the tribunal that the February 23 National Assembly elections in the district were marred by massive rigging and other irregularities, and therefore, prayed the panel to cancel the election and order a fresh election.

In its judgement, the tribunal, after looking at all arguments, cancelled the election and ordered for a fresh one within 90 days.

Kogi State

Senator Dino Melaye (PDP) versus Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC) 

The Kogi State National/State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal voided the election of Dino Melaye as the senator representing the Kogi West.

The three-man tribunal was unanimous that the election which produced Melaye of the PDP as a senator was flawed.

The tribunal, led by Justice A.O. Chijioke, upheld the petition by Senator Smart Adeyemi of the APC and ordered that a fresh election be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission within 90 days.

Abia State

Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (APC) versus Senator Mao Ohuabunwa

The National and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia has nullified the election of the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu, for Abia North senatorial district.

Delivering its judgement, a member of the three-member tribunal, Justice I.P.C Igwe, said that the petitioner, Senator Ohuabunwa, successfully proved his allegation of substantial non-compliance with electoral guidelines.

Ohuabunwa of the PDP had approached the tribunal to nullify the election of Kalu, who contested on the platform of the APC.

The tribunal ordered the INEC to conduct a supplementary election within 90 days in eight wards in Arochukwu Local Government Area and several polling units in Ohafia and Isukwuato, where votes were cancelled during the poll.

Nasarawa State

Labaran Maku (APGA) versus Governor Abdullahi Audu Sule (APC)

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Nasarawa State during the last general elections, Mr. Labaran Maku, lost at the tribunal sitting in Lafia, the state capital.

The former minister of information, however, said he would challenge the ruling of the tribunal, which threw out his case. Maku had filed a petition challenging the victory of Abdullahi Sule of the APC on the ground that the election did not meet the requirements of the law.

However, the chairman of the tribunal, Abba Mohammed, threw out APGA’s petition on the ground that the petitioner filed application for pre-hearing before the stipulated time as allowed by the law.

Kaduna State

Isa Ashiru (PDP) versus Governor Nasiru el-Rufai (APC) 

The Kaduna State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal upheld the election of Governor Nasir el-Rufai as the winner of the March 9 governorship election in the state.

The chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Ibrahim Bako, in his ruling, dismissed the petitioner’s suit for lacking in merit.

In a unanimous judgement, which lasted several hours, the tribunal ruled in favour of El-Rufai, declaring that the petitioners failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there was massive irregularity in that election as alleged.

Oyo State

Senator Abiola Ajimobi (APC) versus Senator Kola Balogun (PDP)

The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Oyo State upheld the victory of Senator Kola Balogun of the PDP for Oyo South senatorial district.

The immediate past governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, had challenged the declaration of Balogun as the winner of the election.

Balogun had polled 105,720 votes to defeat Ajimobi, who got 92,218 votes.

The three-man panel of the tribunal, chaired by Justice Anthony Akpovi, with Justice Sambo Daka and Justice Chinyere Ani as members, unanimously upheld Balogun’s victory.

Sokoto State

Senator Ahmad Maccido (PDP) versus Senator Aliyu Wamakko (APC)

The Governorship, National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Sokoto State dismissed the petition of Senator Ahmad Maccido of the PDP, challenging the election of Senator Aliyu Wamakko of the APC.

Unsatisfied with the outcome of the election, Maccido approached the tribunal, challenging the declaration of APC’s Wamakko, alleging that the election was marred by irregularities and non-compliance with laws.

In his judgement, Justice Peter Akhihiero held that the petitioner was unable to discharge the burden of proof with satisfactory evidence.

Akwa Ibom State

Godswill Akpabio (APC) versus Senator Christopher Ekpenyong (PDP) 

The National and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has upheld the election of Christopher Ekpenyong, striking out Senator Godswill Akpabio’s petition.

In their judgement, the tribunal held that the Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial district results as announced by the INEC remained valid.

Akpabio, a former governor of the state, had challenged the election on the ground that Ekpenyong was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast and that the process that elected him contravened the Electoral Act.

The court dismissed all the preliminary objections filed by all the respondents in the petition and resolved to settle the case on its merits, to wit: “Did the petitioner prove by admissible evidence that the election was invalid?

Kaduna State

Shehu Sani (PRP) versus Senator Uba Sani

The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Kaduna dismissed the petition of Senator Shehu Sani of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP).

He had challenged the victory of Uba Sani of the ruling APC.

Delivering judgement, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice A. H. Suleiman, said the petition lacked merit.

 Benue State

Senator George Akume versus Senator Emmanuel Orker-Jev

The National and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, threw out the petition filed by Senator George Akume, challenging the victory of Senator Emmanuel Orker-Jev representing Benue North-West senatorial district.

The INEC had returned Orker-Jev of the PDP as winner of the February 23, 2019 election.

Akume of the APC approached the tribunal to upturn Orker-Jev’s victory and declare him as the substantive winner.

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