Law News
ELECTION PETITION: The emerging twists, triumphs

As the deadline for the expiration of Election Petition Tribunals sitting across the country draws nearer, results emanating from the tribunals have elicited mixed feelings among the various political parties.

While the Court of Appeal is regarded as the last resort for National and state legislative election petitions, presidential and governorship election petitions terminate at the Supreme Court.

The various petitions presently going on at the tribunals are expected to be decided this month in view of the 180 days time limit stipulated by the Electoral Act.

Election tribunals

So far, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seems to be at the losing end especially at the National Assembly election petitions tribunals across the states. States were some cases had been decided include: Abia, Enugu, Ogun, Akwa-Ibom, Taraba and Kogi.

The All Progressives Congress, (APC) also lost some seats in the National Assembly election petition tribunal.

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe

The election of Enyinnaya Abaribe was nullified in Umuahia. Delivering the judgement, the lead judge stated that the election of Senator Abaribe was inconclusive due to irregularities in two local government areas namely Obingwa and Ugwunagbo.

The candidate of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chris Nkwonta, had petitioned the tribunal seeking nullification of Abaribe’s election on the basis of electoral irregularities.

Senator Abaribe, a three-term senator has been in the Senate representing Abia-South since 2007.

Sani Abubakar Danladi

ThePDP suffered another setback with the loss of former acting Governor of Taraba state, Sani Abubakar Danladi.

In delivering the judgement, the electoral tribunal in Taraba State nullified the election of Danladi and ordered that fresh elections be held in more than 40 polling units in Taraba North Senatorial district.

Ali Sani Kona of the APC had petitioned the tribunal requesting cancellation of the April 11 election arguing that it did not conform to key provisions of the electoral act.

Senator Godswill Akpabio

In the case of the minority Leader of the Senate, Chief Godswill Akpabio, his election was affirmed by the Tribunal sitting in Abuja. In its judgement, the tribunal headed by Goddy Anunihu, he dismissed the petition that was brought against Akpabio’s election by the APC and its candidate Chief Inibehe Okori.  for the Akwa-Ibom North West Senatorial District.

The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to prove that the erstwhile governor was not validly nominated by the PDP, to contest the March 28, 2015, National Assembly election.  The tribunal held that the fact that Akpabio was in an initial list that was sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, by the PDP, but erroneously identified as the Senatorial candidate for Akwa-Ibom North East, did not invalidate his election.

Senator Gilbert Nnaji

The National Assembly Election Tribunal led by Justice M.O Adewara in Enugu State, nullified the  election of Gilbert Nnaji of the PDP and ordered INEC to conduct a fresh election in 90 days.

Delivering the lead judgement, Adewara of Kwara State High Court agreed with the petitioner that the March 30, 2015 Enugu East senatorial election that produced Nnaji was marred by gross irregularities and that the petitioner, who is former governor Chimaroke Nnamani of the Peoples Democratic Change, (PDC), tendered enough evidence to show there was over voting and falsification of electoral sheets.

Senator Buruji Kashamu

The Election Tribunal in Ogun State nullified the election of Buruji Kashamu and ordered a re-run in 110 polling units where irregularities were established.

Prince Dapo Abiodun, candidate of the APC, Ogun East Senatorial candidate in the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly Election challenged Kashamu’s victory at the tribunal claiming that Kashamu was not validly elected.

Delivering the judgement, Justice Tobi Ebimowei said that there were some irregularities and anomalies in the election that threw up Senator Kashamu.

Ebimowei held that Ijebu Ode Local Government Area was the only local government out of the nine in Ogun East that election results were not cancelled because the irregularities were minimal.

Proven irregularities

INEC official displays an empty ballot box

He however stated that having perused all the evidences before the tribunal, 37,008 votes    were declared unlawful on grounds of proven irregularities.

Ebimowei also said the total valid and lawful votes for the first respondent after the deduction and adjustment is now 75,856 compared to 99,540 declared by INEC.

Senator Ike Ekweremadu

The election of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu was upheld by Justice Michael Edem maintaining that the APC Senatorial Candidate for Enugu West, Chief Philip Eze’s petition lacked substantial evidence and awarded a sum of N60,000 in favour of Ekweremadu and INEC the last respondent.

Edem said the petitioner failed to prove his case, adding that the evidence adduced in the trial showed that the petitioner was included and not “excluded” in the senatorial election which held on March 28, 2015.

At the conclusion of the election, INEC had declared Ekweremadu of the PDP as the winner.

Senator Abdulrahman Abubakar

Senator Abdulrahman Abubakar of the APC lost his senatorial seat to Attai Aidoko of the PDP after the Kogi State Elections Petition Tribunal ruled in favour of the PDP.

The Kogi State Elections Petition Tribunal handling petitions in the State ruled that Senator Abubakar should cede his seat to Aidoko because he is the legitimate winner of the April 11 the legislative election in the State.

Senator Bukola Saraki

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki is one of the latest Senators who had his election upheld by the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital,

Saraki who is the President of the Senate had his election challenged for Kwara Central Senatorial District by the PDP candidate,  Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.

The claims by the PDP candidate that there was an improper conduct was dismissed and it therefore means Saraki remains the president of the county’s upper chamber.

Adekoya Adesegun Majid

Adekoya Adesegun Majid, the candidate of the PDP for Ijebu East, Ijebu North and Ogun waterside at the last March 28, 2015 National Assembly elections had his election annulled.

Justice Tobi Ebimowei  ordered fresh election in 222 units where irregularities were noticed, following the successful challenge by Biyi Ismail of the APC.

Ismail had approached the court to declare him winner of the March 28 , 2015 National Assembly election in the state.

The tribunal stated that the petitioner presented 21 witnesses while the respondent called 15 witnesses.

The petitioner said that many irregularities and non compliance marred the election and thereby called for the annulment of the election.

Total votes given to the respondent after deduction was 14,371 while the respondent had 14,234.

Tony Nwoye

The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Anambra State declared Tony Nwoye of the PDP the winner in a petition brought against the election of Peter Madubueze of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

Polling units

According to the judgement delivered by Justice Nayai Aganaba in Awka, he declared Mr. Nwoye as the duly elected candidate in Anambra East and West constituency.

Mr. Nwoye had approached the tribunal asking it to set aside the election of the APGA candidate because the elections had been rigged in several polling units in his strongholds at Nsugbe Ward I and ll in Anambra East local government area.

Senator George Sekibo

It was a major setback for APC members in Rivers state as Justice Pindinga refused to annul the elections of six House of Representatives members and that of Sen George Sekibo.

The PDP lawmakers whose elections were upheld by the tribunal were Senator George Sekibo, representing Rivers East Senatorial District, Jerome Eke of Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency); Bright Gogo Tamuno of Okrika/Ogu-Bolu; Boniface Emerengwe, of Ikwerre/Emeouha, Kingsley Chinda of Obio/ Akpo) and Mrs. Blessing Nsiegbe.

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