The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Yola, Adamawa state on Saturday, dismissed a petition filed by the Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Aishatu Dahiru Binani challenging the election of Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of the People’s Democratic Party.
In their petition marked No. EPT/AD/GOV/1/2023, Binani and APC joined the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and the PDP, as 1st to 3rd respondents respectively.
Binani and APC jointly filed the petition on the 6th May, 2023, alleging that the election conducted on the 18th March, 2023 and 15th to 18 April, 2023 was marred by thuggery, ballot papers and BVAs snatching, harassment of the electoral officers and several other offences.
According to them, the election was violated by substantial non-compliance with and breaches of the mandatory statutory requirements of the Electoral Act and regulations made thereunder, which substantially affected the validity of the election that none of the candidates can be validly returned as having won the election.
The petitioners averred that Fintiri’s election was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, arguing that Fintiri was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast during the election.
Binani asked the tribunal to declare her validly elected and return as winner of the exercise, and also prayed for an order of the tribunal directing INEC to issue her with certificate of return as the duly elected Governor of Adamawa state.
However, during the tribunal sitting on Saturday, the Chairman of the 3-member panel, Theodora Obi Uloho ruled that the petitioners were unable to prove their allegations of non-compliance with the electoral act and prove their “case with cogent, credible and satisfactory evidence.”
Uloho said the documents tendered by the petitioners were dumped on the tribunal and that their star witness did not demonstrate any of the documents to link it with any of their material allegations in the petition, adding that “the court is an adjudicator and not an investigator.”
The judge further stated that all the witnesses presented came with documentary hearsays and failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.
She further declared that the declaration by Barr. Hudu Ari Yunusa, is null and void because he acted recklessly and it was not in his place to collate, announce and declare winner of the election. She added that his role was meant for supervision and administration.