On Tuesday, the Election Petition Tribunal in Sokoto state admitted two documents as evidence regarding Deputy Governor Idris Gobir’s educational qualifications. The tribunal adjourned the sitting until July 19.
Justice Haruna Mshelia, the Tribunal Chairman, adjourned the case after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its 2023 Governorship candidate, Alhaji Sa’idu Umar, finished presenting their testimonies to substantiate their petition.
Mshelia adjourned the case for the All Progressives Congress (APC) Gov. Ahmad Aliyu and Gobir to present their defense.
The exhibits presented were from the Saboon Birni Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) and were tendered through Mr. Muyiwa Akinboro, SAN, the lead Counsel for the PDP and Alhaji Sa’idu Umar, the 2023 Governorship candidate.
Akinboro led the state party chairman, Alhaji Bello Goronyo, who was the last of the 32 witnesses lined up to support the petition at the Tribunal.
Goronyo testified that he delegated party members as agents to receive reports on election violence and associated frauds. These reports were compiled and submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant authorities.
He admitted that some individuals were arrested for alleged violence and malpractices, but he was uncertain whether they were prosecuted or not.
The party chairman stated that he was unaware of any court judgment regarding the eligibility of Gov. Aliyu and Deputy Governor Gobir to contest the election.
Akinboro also presented Abdulmumini Usman, the Head of Operations of INEC in Sokoto, who provided election documents as evidence.
Chief Jecob Ochidi, SAN, the lead Counsel for the Respondents, and Hassan Liman, SAN, who represents the APC, objected to the admissibility of the documents.
INEC lead Counsel, Mr AbdulAziz Sani, SAN, also agreed with the arguments put forth by the respondents’ counsel.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Umar and the PDP filed a petition with the tribunal to nullify the March 18, 2023 election, which resulted in the victory of Gov. Ahmad Aliyu and Deputy Governor Idris Gobir of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
In the petition, they claimed that the election was flawed and did not comply with electoral laws.
The petitioners argued that at the time of the election, the respondents were not eligible to contest, and they requested that the votes wrongfully attributed to them be invalidated due to their non-qualification.
They argued that the election was unlawful and should be declared null and void.
Furthermore, they asked the tribunal to compel INEC to issue a new certificate of return to the petitioner as the duly elected Governor of Sokoto State, or to order a new election excluding the respondents.