The Katsina State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal on Saturday in Abuja, in a split decision of two to one, validated the election of Governor Aminu Masari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Dele Omotosho, in his judgment at the Zone ll Magistrate Court, Abuja, held that the petitioner failed to prove the allegation of substantial non-compliance to the electoral act in the conduct of the election.
However, in his dissenting judgment, Mfr Omotosho, allowed the petition and nullified the election of Governor Masari.
He also ruled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in the state within 90 days.
Mr Omotosho held that Mr Masari was qualified to have contested the election and that the petitioners were not able to prove the allegations which they hinged their petition.
In the majority judgment, chairman of the panel, Hadiza Alijos and Justice Ityonuyiman, held that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations of non-compliance to the electoral act in the conduct of the election that produced Mr Masari as the winner.
Yakubu Lado of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took Mr Masari and the APC to the tribunal, challenging the result of the March 9 governorship election in the state.
Mr Lado in his petition filed by his counsel, Goddy Uche, asked the tribunal to nullify the election and order for a rerun over alleged irregularities.
The PDP and its candidate also prayed that the tribunal should disqualify Mr Masari who won the disputed election on the grounds that he had no requisite educational qualification to contest the election.
Mr Lado questioned the governor’s qualification to contest the 2019 governorship election, pointing out that records in Masari’s documentation with INEC, tendered as exhibit by his counsel, Gordy Uche, showed that Masari and his father were both 69 years old.
The petitioner asserted that an affidavit deposed to by Masari’s father, Umaru Bello showed that while his son was born on May 29, 1950, his father was 51 years as at the time of declaration on Aug. 9, 2001.
This it said was exactly 69 years in 2019 and the same age with his son.
He also alleged that another area of discrepancy before the tribunal was the inconsistent dates of birth on Masari’s primary school leaving certificate, saying it differs from the sworn declaration of age.
“While the declaration of age indicated that Masari was born in 1950, the primary certificate, on the other hand, stated that he was born in 1951,” Mr Lado said.
He also claimed that just as the same primary school certificate in question belongs to one Aminu Bello, a Fulani, the respondent is known and addressed as Aminu Bello Masari, Hausa by tribe.