Kaduna: Lawal loses as Bantex knows fate Monday

The National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Kaduna weekend dismissed the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Lawal Adamu against the election of All Progressives Congress’ candidate Senator, Uba Sani, for lack of evidence.

Similarly, the tribunal will Monday rule on the petition of the former deputy governor of Kaduna State, Barnabas Bantex, is challenging the re-election of Danjuma Lah of the PDP in the February 23, 2019 polls.

The former deputy governor had contested Kaduna South senatorial district on the platform of the ruling APC against Lah, a PDP candidate in the election.

In the weekend judgement,  the petitioners(PDP and Lawal), who had challenged the victory of Uba Sani in the February 23 National Assembly election, had asked the tribunal to nullify the election of Uba Sani as the senator representing the Kaduna Central senatorial district.

 The petition, the PDP and Lawal had approached the tribunal alleging that the election was marred by massive rigging, ballot stuffing, ballot snatching and violence in some parts of the senatorial zone.

Also, they had claimed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not comply with the electoral Act 2010 in the conduct of the poll.

A third allegation was that Uba Sani did not resign his appointment as an official of the Government of Kaduna State before contesting the poll and that violated the Electoral Act, and therefore his election should be voided.

In the election itself,  Adamu had emerged second in the poll with 195,497 votes as against Uba Sani, a former Political Adviser to Governor Nasir El-Rufai, who secured 355,242 votes in the contest in which the then incumbent senator, Shehu Sani of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) was third with 70,613 votes.

Before this latest judgement, the tribunal had earlier dismissed the petition of Shehu Sani against Uba Sani’s election.

But the tribunal in a judgement read by its chairman, Adamu Suleiman, said that Adamu and his party failed to provide substantial evidence of all allegations contained in the petition.

He said though they presented 38 witnesses who failed to present convincing evidence to warrant the nullification of Uba Sani’s election as the Kaduna Central senatorial district representative.

Justice Suleiman said the PDP and Lawal as well as their witnesses failed to provide evidence of allegations of over-voting, massive rigging, ballot snatching and violence in some parts of Birnin Gwari, Igabi and Giwa LGs as contained in their petition to back up their claims.

The tribunal said most of the witnesses had affirmed that the elections were conducted in those affected areas within the time stipulated by the electoral act 2010.

Further, the chairman said that some of the information on allegations of massive rigging, ballot stuffing and violence in polling units were obtained by proxy and “the court would not use third party information/hearsay as evidence as contained in the petition.”

The tribunal chairman also said the petitioners did not tender material evidence of either voter register or voters cards to prove the allegation of INEC’s non compliance with the Electoral Act. He asserted that information presented during cross examination of the witnesses were contradictory and far from being beyond reasonable doubt.

The tribunal also dismissed the petitioners allegation that Uba Sani did not resign his appointment as Political Adviser to Gov Nasiru El-Rufai as baseless and therefore dismissed the petition for lack of merit.

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