The National Assembly Petition Tribunal in Ilorin has affirmed the election of Bukola Saraki as a senator representing Kwara Central.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Josiah Majebi, upheld Saraki’s election when he delivered judgment in the petition filed by Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday.
Abdulrasaq had challenged the victory of Saraki in the March 28th elections.
The tribunal also upheld the election of Rafiu Ibrahim as duly elected to senator for Kwara South.
The petitioner, Lola Ashiru, had challenged the victory of Ibrahim in the March 28th polls.
Majebi, in the judgment, held that Abdulrasaq had failed to prove the reliefs sought against Saraki and also failed to prove that he scored the highest number of votes cast in the election.
He also agreed with Saraki’s counsel that the petition was incompetent as it was filed outside the stipulated 21 days allowed by the Electoral Act 2010.
The tribunal said the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to hear the petition based on the fact that it was filed out of time.
He, however, said the tribunal went ahead to look at the grounds of appeal and merit of the matter.
Majebi noted that the oral evidences of four witnesses called by the petitioner failed to proof the case beyond doubt.
He said that the evidences of the two witnesses were “mere hearsay’’ as the first witness failed to identify the polling units where over voting took place, declaring the hearsay as mere speculative.
He said that the forensic expert called by the petitioner also failed to demonstrate any academic qualification on Forensic Science.
Majebi said the witness did not demonstrate any knowledge relating to election expertise.
He held that oral evidences adduced by the three witnesses rendered all the documents tendered in evidence useless.
The chairman held that witnesses have failed to prove the petitioner’s case in identifying polling units, wards where multiple thumb printing took place and identify INEC officials that perpetrated the malpractices.
Majebi held that the tribunal was convinced that Saraki scored the highest number of valid votes cast in the election, and therefore, upheld the election.
On Ashiru’s petition, the tribunal also agreed with the first Respondent counsel that the petition was filed out of time.
He said that evidence before the tribunal revealed that election results were signed on March 28 and not March 29, while the petition was filed on April 19.
Majebi declared that claims of irregularities, ballot stuffing and over voting, ballot snatching were based on hearsay through telephone calls and radio reports.
He held that the petitioner had failed to prove the case of over voting, ballot snatching and stuffing.
The tribunal, therefore, dismissed the petition against Ibrahim of the APC as incompetent.
Speaking with journalists after the judgment, Personal Assistant to PDP Senatorial candidate, Alhaji Abdulrasaq said his principal would surely contest the judgment at the Court of Appeal.
Photo Credit: NAN-PHOTO