Kaduna governorship election petition tribunal to pick verdict date

The Kaduna State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has adjourned sitting on Monday after counsel adopted the final written addresses and replies to points of law. 
Chairman of the three-member tribunal, Justice Ibrahim Bako, said that a date will be reserved for judgement and all parties will be notified. 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its gubernatorial candidate, Alhaji Isa Ashiru, have petitioned the March 9 election, challenging the election of Governor Nasir El Rufai. In response to the petitioner’s final written address on Monday, the Kaduna State All Progressives Congress (APC) had filed a written address and reply on points of law raised by the petitioners on August 3.

While adopting the two written addresses, counsel to APC, Barrister Ibrahim Bawa (SAN) urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition in its entirety. 
Similarly, counsel to Governor Nasir el-Rufai, Barrister A.U Mustapha (SAN) had asked the tribunal “to invoke its majestic powers to dismiss the petition as lacking in merit and to confirm that the second respondent, Malam Nasir El Rufai as duly elected as governor of Kaduna State on the March 9 election”.

Barrister Mustapha (SAN) further stated that, “on behalf of the second respondent, the final written address which was dated 2nd August, was filed on 3rd August, 2019. The second respondent filed a reply on fact of law on August 16th.”
Also, the counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Barrister Aliyu Umar (SAN) urged the tribunal to “dismiss the petition and confirm el-Rufai as duly elected governor of Kaduna state. He drew the attention of the tribunal to the fact that the petitioners had just served him with a list of additional authorities on the day of sitting. 

Also adopting his final written address, counsel to the petitioners, Barrister Emmanuel Ugala (SAN), had said that it was filed on August 10. In his submission, he argued that all parties to the petition are bound to argue their cases on the basis of whether or not the petitioners had assembled credible evidence to sustain their petition, as formulated by the tribunal. 
According to him, “only the second respondent premised his argument on the issues formulated by this honourable tribunal. The first and third respondents went on their own forays. It is therefore our submission that the argument of the first and third respondents should go to ‘no issue’, having not addressed the issue which was binding to all parties,” Ukala argued. 

The petitioners counsel further said that based on the issues formulated by the tribunal, the issue has been narrowed down to the credibility of evidence. 
“Based on this simplification of the issue, it is our humble submission that when the evidence led by both sides are placed on the imaginary scales of justice, what is obvious is that the weight of evidence of the petitioners will overwhelmingly weigh in favor of the petitioners as against the respondents,” he said. 
“First, the petitioners called 135 witnesses. All respondents put together, first, second and third respondents, called a total of five witnesses. What is obvious is that there are so many areas covered by the petitioners that were not addressed by the respondents.”

Barrister Ugala further pointed out that the quality of the petitioners evidence is more qualitative than that of the respondents, adding that the petitioners called polling unit agents who actually saw what happened on the election day and testified.

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