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Sokoto PDP gov candidate files nine grounds of appeal at S’Court 

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The Sokoto State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 general elections, Sai’du Umar, has filed nine grounds of appeal against the judgment of the Elections Petition Tribunal and that of the  Court of Appeal at the  Supreme Court.

Umar and the PDP listed nine grounds upon which they are asking the Supreme Court to set aside the concurrent judgments of the election petition tribunal and the Court of Appeal which affirmed the election of Ahmed Aliyu as the state governor.

In the appeal, the documents which were made available to our correspondent by the media assistant to the candidate, Nafiu Lema, filed on their behalf by their team of lawyers led by Mr Sunday Ameh, SAN, the appellants claimed that “the judgment of the Court of Appeal is against the weight of evidence”, and as such should be set aside by the apex court.

A three-member panel of the appellate court had in a unanimous judgment last month held that the appellants failed to substantiate allegations of irregularities, noncompliance as well and non-qualification contained in their appeal.

Justice Mbaba Bassi who delivered the lead judgment held that the tribunal was right in expunging evidence of non-compliance and other alleged irregularities and malpractices because the evidence was presented by incompetent witnesses.

Bassi further held that the failure of the appellants to list and front-load the statements of the witnesses was fatal to their case.

They had presented INEC’s form EC40G (incident form; showing elections were cancelled due to over-voting or disruption. According to the appellate court, the form EC40G, “shows electorate were allowed to vote but something went wrong culminating in the cancellation of the election.”

While stating that he doesn’t think it was necessary to call any person to speak again to such documents in line with Section 137 of the Electoral Act, Justice Bassi however, observed that precedence already set by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in related matters demand that the appellants lead oral evidence to support the allegation of manipulation of votes through the cancellation of election in 138 polling units.

Also, the three-man election petitions tribunal led by Justice Haruna Msheila in a unanimous judgement delivered on September 30, dismissed the petitions of the PDP, saying the petitioners failed to prove the six grounds formulated in the petition.

He said the grounds bordered on alleged ineligibility for Aliyu and Gobir to contest, falsification of certificates, variation of names, election frauds and non-compliance with electoral guidelines.

He said petitioners were unable to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt as required by law as 70 per cent of exhibits were out of context because they relate to State Assembly elections conducted on the same dates.

According to him, to prove forgery, two different documents of persons needed to be presented while the variation of names issues was a settled supreme court provision.

He added that three subpoena witnesses were not tenable as they were not makers of the documents from the alleged primary school while the other 28 polling units agenda testified could not produce identify themselves along with their roles.

The tribunal chairman said the alleged 138 polling units frauds were not adduced to indicate substantial non-compliance of the elections have marred the election outcome.

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