Tribunal Upholds Saraki’s Election

Senate President Bukola Saraki
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Senator Rafiu Ibrahim Wins Too

From Victor Seyi, Ilorin

The National Assembly Petition Tribunal sitting in Ilorin has upheld the election of Senate President Bukola Saraki as a Senator representing Kwara Central in the Upper Chamber.
Chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Josiah Majebi, upheld Saraki’s election on Tuesday while delivering a judgment in the petition filed by Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The PDP Senatorial candidate had approached the tribunal to challenge Saraki’s victory in the March 28, 2015 election.
The tribunal also upheld the election of Senator Rafiu Ibrahim as duly elected to represent Kwara South in the Senate. Arch Lola Ashiru has filed a petition at the tribunal challenging the victory of Ibrahim.
Justice Majebi, in the judgment held that the petitioner has failed to prove the reliefs sought against the first respondent.
He declared that the PDP Senatorial candidate had failed to prove that he scored the highest number of credible votes cast in the election.
The Tribunal chairman also agreed with Saraki’s counsel that the petition was incompetent as it was filed outside the stipulated 21 days allowed by the Electoral Act 2010.
Justice Majebi said the Tribunal lacked jurisdiction to hear the petition based on the fact that it was filed out of stipulated time frame.
He however said the tribunal would go ahead to look at the grounds of appeal and merit of the matter.
Justice Majebi noted that the oral evidences of four witnesses called by the Petitioner failed to proof the case beyond doubt. According to the tribunal chairman, evidences of PW1 and PW2 were mere hearsay as PW 1 failed to identify the polling units where over-voting took place, declaring the hearsay as mere speculation.
He said PW III who was the forensic expert called by the petitioner also failed to demonstrate any academic qualification on Forensic Science.
Justice Majebi said PW III did not demonstrate any knowledge relating to election expertise.He held that oral evidences adduced by PW I, PWII and PW III rendered all the documents tendered in evidence useless.
The chairman held that witnesses have failed to prove the petitioner’s case in identifying polling units, wards where multiple thumb printing took place and identify INEC officials that perpetrated malpractices.
Justice Majebi held that the tribunal was convinced that Dr Saraki scored the highest number of valid votes cast in the election and therefore upheld the election.
On Ashiru’s petition, the tribunal also agreed with the first Respondent counsel that the petition was filed out of time.
According to the chairman, evidence before the tribunal, particularly form EC8A1 showed that election results were signed on March 28 and not March 29 2015, while the petition was filed on April 19, 2015.
Justice Majebi declared that claims of irregularities, ballot stuffing and over voting, ballot snatching were based on hearsay through telephone calls and radio reports.
He held that the petitioner has failed to prove the case of over-voting, ballot snatching and stuffing.
The Tribunal therefore dismissed the petition against Sen. Ibrahim of the APC as incompetent.
Speaking with journalists after the judgment, Personal Assistant (PA) to PDP Senatorial candidate, Alhaji Abdulrasaq said his principal would contest the judgment at the Court of Appeal.

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