The Borno National and state Houses of Assembly Election Petitions tribunal sitting in Abuja Thursday dismissed a petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, challenging the victory of Dr Haruna Mshelia of the APC.
The PDP and its candidate, Emmanuel Bassi, had challenged the victory of Mshelia in the February 23 national and state assembly elections.
Joined in the suit were INEC, APC, the Borno state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) and the INEC Returning Officer for Askira/Uba/Hawul federal constituency. The petition, which was filed on March 15, had the number EPT/BO/HR/2/2019.
Ruling in the motion to dismiss the petition, filed by the INEC, APC and Mshelia, a member of the tribunal Justice Anthonia Ubaka, on behalf of the chairman, Justice Peter Kekemeke held that the petitioners failed to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Ubaka said: “there must be strict compliance to section 18 of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended.”
She said the petitioners filed out of time, thereby flouting the seven days time given by the law for filing of pre-hearing letter.
“The petitioners filed after the expiration of the seven days stipulated by the Electoral Act. The implication is that the petition is deemed abandoned and accordingly, the petition is hereby dismissed,” she held.
The PDP and Bassi had claimed that Mshelia was not duly elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast at the election of February 23rd, 2019.
The petitioners further averred that the election was void by reason of substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended.
They further claimed that Mshelia did not score the majority votes cast and therefore urged the tribunal to nullify the return of the 2nd respondent as winner of the said election.
They also sought the order of the tribunal to direct INEC to issue certificate of return to the 2nd petitioner as the duly elected member, House of Representative for Askira/Uba/Hawul federal constituency.
In the alternative, they sought an order of the tribunal directing INEC to conduct fresh election. (NAN)