Court to rule on Saraki’s man­date Oct 16

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - By Hamza Idris & Romoke W. Ah­mad, Ilorin

The Na­tional Assem­bly Elec­tion Pe­ti­tion Tri­bunal sit­ting in Ilorin, Kwara State has slated Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 16 for judg­ment on the le­gal tus­sle sur­round­ing the elec­tion of the Se­nate Pres­i­dent, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

The judg­ment, ac­cord­ing to the Jus­tice Josiah Ma­jebi-Led three man panel would be com­mu­ni­cated to the par­ties in­volved.

Daily Trust re­li­ably gath­ered that the tri­bunal will give its judg­ment amidst tired se­cu­rity, even as ef­forts are be­ing in­ten­si­fied to pre­vent sup­port­ers of the con­tend­ing par­ties from over­crowd­ing the venue.

“The lawyers in­volved in the case would be in­vited to the court for the judg­ment,” a source close to the tri­bunal said.

Al­haji Ab­dul­rah­man Ab­dul­razaq of the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP), had dragged Saraki, the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) and the In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC) to the Tri­bunal.

He is chal­leng­ing the dec­la­ra­tion of Dr Saraki as the validly elected Sen­a­tor for Kwara Cen­tral Sen­a­to­rial, al­leg­ing that the elec­tion was mas­sively flawed.

He hinged his pe­ti­tion on six grounds in­volv­ing al­leged wide­spread non-com­pli­ance with var­i­ous pro­vi­sions of the Elec­toral Act, 2010 (as amended), and INEC’s elec­tion reg­u­la­tions and pro­ce­dures.

Ab­dul­razak said in­stead of Saraki, he should be de­clared win­ner be­cause he scored ma­jor­ity of the law­ful votes cast dur­ing the elec­tion.

Al­haji Ab­dul­razaq claimed that there were wide­spread abuses in re­la­tion to the elec­tronic card reader for ac­cred­i­ta­tion to the ad­van­tage of Dr Saraki, and that Saraki’s pur­ported vic­tory was the “prod­uct of de­lib­er­ate wrong en­tries (of votes) made by” INEC’s elec­tion work­ers.

Dr Saraki, on his part, did not only de­scribed Al­haji Ab­dul­rasaq’s var­i­ous claims of elec­tion ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties as un­founded, but also urged the Tri­bunal to strike out the Pe­ti­tion.

He said the pe­ti­tion lacks com­pe­tence in its en­tirety, hav­ing al­legedly be­ing “filed in fla­grant vi­o­la­tion of the ap­pli­ca­ble pro­vi­sions of the Fed­eral High Court Rules and the manda­tory pro­vi­sions of the 1st Sched­ule to the Elec­toral Act, 2010 (as amended) ie, “Rules of Pro­ce­dure for Elec­tion Pe­ti­tions”, among other grounds.

It would be re­called that Coun­sel to Saraki, Yusuf Ali (SAN) had dur­ing the last sit­ting, while re­spond­ing to the foren­sic re­port ad­mit­ted in ev­i­dence against his client, in the pe­ti­tion which was dated March 28, 2014, a year be­fore the con­tested poll was con­ducted noted that the date on the doc­u­ment shows that it was pre­pared in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the elec­tion.

Ali there­fore prayed the tri­bunal to dis­miss the pe­ti­tion.

The four vol­umes of foren­sic re­port anal­y­sis car­ried on elec­toral ma­te­ri­als used in four lo­cal gov­ern­ments in Kwara Cen­tral had been marked as ‘Ex­hibits P4’ but A.O Oladoke, who spoke for the pe­ti­tioner’s lead coun­sel; Fran­cis Obumse at­trib­uted it to ty­po­graph­i­cal er­ror.

Coun­sels to Sec­ond and Third Re­spon­dent, Ab­dul­wa­hab Bamidele and Alarape Sal­man SAN equally agreed with Ali’s sub­mis­sion, ask­ing the court to dis­miss the pe­ti­tion.

Part of the claims of the pe­ti­tioner was that the tes­ti­mony of Al­haji Has­san, the only wit­ness called by the APC and the re­spon­dents’ side, had proved that the elec­tion was flawed.

The tes­ti­mony, which is con­tained in two doc­u­ments were re­port­edly ad­mit­ted in ev­i­dence as “Ex­hibit D1” and “Ex­hibit D2”.

Se­nate Pres­i­dent Bukola Saraki

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