Tambuwal closes defence in suit challenging his reelection

Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal
Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal

Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, on Wednesday, led eight witnesses to defend his election at the Sokoto State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.

The All Progressive Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Ahmed Aliyu, had gone to the tribunal seeking to upturn the victory of Mr Tambuwal in the 2019 governorship election in the state.

Counsel to Mr Tambuwal, Emmanuel Ukala, closed his defence after he presented the eight witnesses, including officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that were subpoenaed to testify.

The 8th defence witness, Jabbi Kilgori, who is the PDP State Collation and Returning Officer, told the tribunal that the election was free and fair, while results were duly declared uncontested at state collation centre in his presence.

In his evidence, Mr Kilgore identified discrepancies in the names of the petitioner, Mr Aliyu and his running mate, Faruk Yabo, from the forms they completed at INEC.

All the witnesses have undergone cross-examinations from Mr Aliyu’s counsel, Alex Izinyon, on their capability to give legal evidence, among other areas.

Justice Abbas Babawale admitted some documents after he granted the application by the respondent’s counsel who tendered them through the witnesses which he said were vital to their defence.

When Mr Tambuwal, who is the 2nd respondent, closed his defence, the lead counsel for PDP, the 3rd Respondent in the case, Akinmuyiwa Akinboro, applied for an adjournment.

The application was however opposed by Mr Aliyu’s counsel, Mr Izinyon.

Counsel to INEC, Alhassan Umar, did not object to the application. In his ruling, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Bawale, said the tribunal would abide by its dates line-up in the case, duly consented by all parties in the interest of justice.

Justice Bawale adjourned the case to August 1 for PDP to open defence after which parties would address the tribunal on dates fixed.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the main governorship election held on March 9 was declared inconclusive following cancellation of 75, 403 votes which were higher than the 3, 413 votes margin between the leading candidates.

The re-run was conducted on March 23, and Mr Tambuwal won with a slim margin of 342 votes.

Unsatisfied with the outcome, Mr Aliyu approached the tribunal challenging the return of Mr Tambuwal as the governor-elect, on the grounds that the election was marred with irregularities. (NAN)



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