Yobe: Tribunal dismisses Waziri’s petition against Gaidam
The Yobe State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja has dismissed the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Adamu Waziri, challenging the victory of Governor Ibrahim Gaidam.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Mojisola Dada in a judgment yesterday held that the petitioner failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the case of substantial noncompliance with the Electoral Act, 2010 against Governor Gaidam’s election.
She consequently dismissed the petition, stating that whatever irregularities complained about are not substantial and cannot vitiate the outcome of the election as set by the electoral law.
Waziri, through his counsel, Niyi Akintola (SAN) had alleged in the petition that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) erred by returning Gaidam of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the grounds of “widespread violence and irregularities in the election.”
The petitioners had also alleged that the Aide-de-camp to the governor Zakari Deba, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, had bribed the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Abu Zarma, to influence the results of the election.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in its subpoenaed report confirmed that the sum of N8 million and N7 million were paid into the REC's Diamond Bank PLC and Zenith Bank accounts respectively on April 8 but explained that the REC on April 9 wrote letters to the bank for reversal of the payments.
Justice Dada observed that the fact that the REC wrote for a reversal of the transfers on April 9 after receiving a credit alert on April 8 exonerated him from any wrongdoing, adding that the petitioners failed to link the said attempted bribery to the governor.
On the claims that the REC failed to conduct elections in Yunusari, Gambari and Tambuwal local government areas to favour the governor, the judge observed that evidence by witnesses showed that election held in those areas.
The judge further observed that Waziri did not complain of the election in Potiskum where he won convincingly.
Reacting to the verdict, Governor Gaidam said he was grateful to God. “The mandate given to us by the people of Yobe has been confirmed by the tribunal. It is a victory for democracy and the rule of law. I want to assure our people that we will continue to forge ahead in our determination to improve their living conditions through the provision of social services. I also want to commend the tribunal for the painstaking work it has done, for hearing both sides fairly and for dispensing justice,” he said.
On his part, Waziri said the judgment was thorough but reached an illogical conclusion that did not add value to the development of jurisprudence in Nigeria.
Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State (2nd left), speaks to his supporters shortly after the Yobe. Governorship Election Petition Tribunal upheld his election as duly elected governor of the state, in Abuja yesterday