By: Valentine Adese (JP),
The petition EPT/PL/NA/HR/10/2019, filed by Hon. Timothy Golu and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), challenging the victory of Rt. Hon. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi and the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been reserved for Judgment by the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Jos, Plateau State.
A quick review of the petition, the sessions and the processes so far filed and adopted before it was adjourned and reserved for Judgment, indicates that, the petition dated 12th March, 2019 was filed on 17th March, 2019.
The Petitioners prayed the Tribunal for prayers/reliefs therein in pages 23 to 24 of the petition.
Principal among the reliefs sought are:-
That it may be determined and declared that if the invalid and vitiated votes cancelled and nullified are deducted from the votes allocated or credited to the 1st Respondent (Hon. Yusuf Gagdi), your 1st Petitioner (Hon. Timothy Golu) will have the majority of lawful votes and ought to have been declared and returned as the winner of the Pankshin, Kanke, Kanam Federal Constituency of Plateau State or in the alternative, returned as the winner of the election into office of the member of the house of Representatives for Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam Federal Constituency of Plateau State, held on the 23rd of February, 2019.
A declaration of the Honourable Tribunal that the 3rd Respondent (INEC) could not have used the votes from Kanam LGC to declare the 1st Respondent as the winner of the said election, having initially declared the election in Kanam as INCONCLUSIVE.
An Order of the Honourable Tribunal declaring the action of the 3rd Respondent in declaring the 1st Respondent as winner of the said election on the basis of only the votes from Pankshin and Kanke LGA as null and void, the 3rd Respondent having declared the result of the election from Kanam LGA as INCONCLUSIVE.
An Order of the Hpnourable Tribunal nullifying the election into office of member of the House of Representatives, for Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam Federal Constituency of Plateau State, held on 23rd day of February, 2019 and ordering for a rerun in Kanam Local Government Area, the 3rd Respondent having declared the election in Kanam Local Government Area as INCONCLUSIVE.
Or ALTERNATIVELY, an Order nullifying the Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam Federal Constituency of Plateau State, held on 23rd day of February, 2019 and ordering for a fresh election.
From records, the 1st Respondent filed its Reply to the petition dated 30th April, 2019, on 2nd May, 2019. The 2nd Respondent’s Reply to the petition dated 9th April, 2019 and filed on the same day, while the 3rd Respondent’s Reply to the petition dated 5th April, 2019, was filed on 10th April, 2019.
The Petitioners filed Replies to the respective Respondents. The petitioners’ Replies to the 3rd , 2nd and 1st Respondents were filed on 21st April, 27th April and 10th May, 2019, respectively.
You would recal that the pre-hearing session of the petition, commenced on 28th May, and ended on 10th June, 2019. While, the hearing of the petition commenced on 22nd June, and ended on 2 July, 2019.
In all, the Petitioners, called 9 witnesses and tendered 30 exhibits, marked P1to P30, and closed their case on 25th June, 2019. The 1st Respondent called 2 witnesses, while the 2nd Respondent called only one witness. On the part of the 3rd Respondent, no witness was called.
From the Statement of Facts in the petition, Hon. Golu and the PDP stated that:-
- At the end of the election to the office of member of the House of Representatives for Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam Federal Constituency, being the subject of the petition, the 3rd Respondent announced that the Petitioners scored 78,987 votes, while the 1st and 2nd Respondents scored 80,373 votes. Thus, leaving a margin of lead or difference of 1, 386 votes.
- However, in Kanke Local Government Area, the total of votes scored by the Petitioners was erroneously entered as 22,084 instead of 23,178. Thus, unjustifiably cutting down the total votes of the Petitioners by 1094 votes.
- Further, in Kanam local government area, the election was cancelled in nine (9) polling units of five wards with the nine polling units having a registered number of voters of over 6000. A number far higher that the margin of lead.
- The allegation of wrongful computation of Petitioners’ scores in Kanke Local Government Area and the cancellation of election in Kanam Local Government Area was made directly against the 3rd
- Despite the above, the 3rd Respondent closed its case on 2nd July without calling any of the witnesses listed in its Reply to the petition.
- TO BE CONTINUED