Monday, August 15, 2022

Tribunal dismisses APC petition in Bakura constituency by-election, upholds PDP victory

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The election petition tribunal sitting in Kaduna State has dismissed a petition filed by the All Progressive Congress, APC, and its candidate, Bello Dankande, over the Bakura state constituency by-election in Zamfara State.

Recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had declared Ibrahim Tukur of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the winner of the December 9 by-election for the Bakura Constituency of the State Assembly.

But the APC and its candidate petitioned the tribunal, seeking the quashing of the by-election over alleged electoral malpractices.

From left: Mahmud Magaji, SAN; Sani Katu, SAN; Barr Abdullahi Mukhtar Mohammad, MON,  and Mike Ozeikhomi SAN.
From left: Mahmud Magaji, SAN; Sani Katu, SAN; Barr Abdullahi Mukhtar Mohammad, MON,  and Mike Ozeikhomi SAN.

Delivering judgement on Friday, the 3-man panel of judges led by Justice Raliat Adebiyi dismissed the APC’s petition for lacking in merit.

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Earlier, Mahmud Magaji, the Counsel to the APC and its candidate, Mr Dankande, the petitioners cited Section 131 of the Electoral Act and argued that there was no election in the constituency.

The petitioners also claimed that ballot boxes were snatched, but failed to bring a single witness to controvert that election.

In his submission, the counsel to the 3rd defendant, INEC, Abdullahi Mukhtar of Compass Chambers, also urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition.

Mr Mukhtar insisted that the commission was neutral and acting as electoral umpire in the matter.

In his defence, Mike Ozekhome, the lead counsel for the 1st and 2nd respondents, replied the petitioners by citing the Supreme Court saying that “an address of counsel no matter how well conducted does not change evidence”.

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Mr Ozekhome urged the court to uphold their submission and dismiss the petition and award cost against the petitioners.

The lead counsel submitted that N500,000 each be awarded as costs for his clients.

The court, however, awarded the sum of N200,000 as damage in favour of the 1st and 2nd defendants, PDP and its candidate, Mr Tukur.

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