The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has fixed Wednesday October 2 for judgement in a petition filed by the PDP and its candidate, Abba Yusuf, challenging the declaration of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje as winner of the March 9 governorship election by INEC.
The date was announced in a text message sent to the parties involved by the secretary of the tribunal.
On September 18, the respondents — INEC, APC and Mr Ganduje — adopted their final written addresses and the petitioners — Abba Yusuf and PDP — adopted their response on written addresses.
The chairman of the tribunal, Halima Shamaki, said the panel was conscious of the deadline of 180 days provided by the Electoral Act, hence the resolve to tidy her work and deliver judgement within the timeframe.
In their arguments during the final presentation, all the respondents’ counsels: Ofiong Ofiong SAN, Alex Ezinyon and Ahmed Raji SAN had unanimously requested the tribunal to dismiss the case as the counsel to the petitioners did not prove their claims.
But, in response to the submissions of all the respondents, the counsel to PDP and its candidate Kanu Agabi, SAN cited a point of reference from the content of INEC’s final written address that the electoral umpire had proved the petitioners claim of conducting a free, fair and credible election on the March 9, 2019.
Mr Agabi further stressed that INEC had admitted in its final address that the PDP candidate was leading with lawful votes and that results were collated and announced.
According to him, INEC has later decided to cancel 207 polling units which is contrary to the provision of the law.
“INEC has announced the result of the 9th March, so to us this case is very simple, all we pray from the honourable tribunal is the declaration of a winner based on the lawful votes cast, which is the PDP candidate Engr. Abba K Yusuf as contained in our evidence number one, a certified true copy of the state collation result sheet issued by the INEC itself,” he said.
However, Mr Ganduje’s counsel, Ofiong Ofiong, argued that for PDP to claim victory of the March 9 election, the party must provide scores of all polling units in the state.