Tri­bunal nul­li­fies elec­tion of Yobe Rep

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The Yobe Leg­isla­tive Elec­tions Pe­ti­tions Tri­bunal sit­ting in Abuja has nul­li­fied the elec­tion of Rep. Sabo Garba (PDP-Nan­gere/Po­tiskum) for lack of ed­u­ca­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

The three-mem­ber tri­bunal, presided by Jus­tice Frances Ikpon­mwen, gave the nul­li­fi­ca­tion or­der while de­liv­er­ing judg­ment in a pe­ti­tion filed by Al­haji Ali Yakubu of the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC).

Yakubu and his party had asked the tri­bunal to nul­lify Garba’s elec­tion on the ground that he did not pos­sess the req­ui­site qual­i­fi­ca­tion to con­test the elec­tion.

In the judg­ment, the tri­bunal or­dered Garba to va­cate his seat in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

It also or­dered the In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC) to de­clare the pe­ti­tioner as the win­ner of the elec­tion and is­sue cer­tifi­cate of re­turn to him.

The tri­bunal held that Garba failed to de­fend the al­le­ga­tion that he did not pos­sess the rel­e­vant qual­i­fi­ca­tion to con­test the elec­tion.

Out of the four is­sues raised by the pe­ti­tion­ers – mal­prac­tice, non­com­pli­ance with elec­toral guide­lines, forgery and lack of ed­u­ca­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tion – the tri­bunal based its judg­ment on the fourth is­sue of ed­u­ca­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

“The is­sue we con­sider is that why should the first re­spon­dent who should pos­sess the orig­i­nals of the cer­tifi­cate, shy away from tes­ti­fy­ing or from pro­duc­ing the orig­i­nals of the cer­tifi­cates,’’ the pre­sid­ing judge held.

The tri­bunal awarded cost of N50,000 each against the 2nd and 3rd re­spon­dents – PDP and INEC, re­spec­tively.

The pe­ti­tion­ers had al­leged that the law­maker did not at­tend the schools he claimed to have at­tended in the INEC forms he filled.

“The first re­spon­dent as at the date of the elec­tion con­ducted on March 28, 2015, was not qual­i­fied to con­test the elec­tion into the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives rep­re­sent­ing Nan­gere/Po­tiskum Fed­eral Con­stituency.

“His af­fi­davit in sup­port of Per­sonal Par­tic­u­lars INEC Form CF 001 states that he at­tended Teach­ers Col­lege, Bama, Borno State, from 1979 to 1984, but there is no record from the school and Na­tional Teach­ers In­sti­tute, of hav­ing at­tended such in­sti­tu­tion.

“The first re­spon­dent claimed in the af­fi­davit that he at­tended Cen­tral Pri­mary School Po­tiskum, from 1974 to 1979, but there is no record from the school of hav­ing at­tended such in­sti­tu­tion,” the pe­ti­tion­ers had sub­mit­ted.

The pe­ti­tion­ers ten­dered doc­u­ments ob­tained from Teach­ers Col­lege Bama, Na­tional Teach­ers In­sti­tute, Kaduna, and Cen­tral Pri­mary School, Potas­sium, to but­tress their al­le­ga­tion.

They had also sub­poe­naed of­fi­cials of the three schools who had tes­ti­fied to the ef­fect that the law­maker did not at­tend the schools. (NAN)

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