Tribunal Sacks ANPP Senator, House Rep in Abuja

No Comments » November 23rd, 2007 posted by // Categories: Electoral Reform Project



 

Tribunal Sacks ANPP Senator

Leadership (Abuja)

NEWS
30 September 2007

Posted to the web 1 October 2007
Abuja

The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja yesterday nullified the election of an All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) senator, Alhaji Jubril Usman Wowo, on the grounds that two candidates of other political parties were unlawfully excluded from participating in the April polls.

Accordingly, the tribunal also for the same reason voided the election of another ANPP House of Representatives member, Alhaji Nasir Muhammad.

 
While Senator Wowo represents the Federal Capital Territory senatorial district, Hon. Muhammad is the representative of Bwari/AMAC federal constituency.

The candidate of the Progressive Action Congress (PAC), Aliyu Ndako, had instituted the petition against Senator Wowo, while the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Kinglsey Oriaku, brought the petition against Hon. Muhammad.

In two separate judgements that lasted over eight hours, a five-man panel of justices of the tribunal headed by Justice Josephine Tuktur held that the petitioners had sufficient reasons in their petitions to ask for the invalidation of the elections.

While laying the blame on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for excluding the two candidates from participating in the two polls and yet alloted votes to them in the results declared, the tribunal ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in the FCT senatorial district and Bwari area council/Bwari federal constituency within three months.

Justice Tuktur who delivered the lead judgement blamed INEC for its inability to abide strictly by the mandatory provisions of the Electoral Act 2006 in the conduct of the elections even as the electoral body failed to create a level ground for the candidates in the polls.

While ruling on Ndako’s petition, the judge said “the evidence of the petitioner is credible, the first defendant was not validly elected and returned as the senator representing the FCT. The election is hereby nullified.

“Political parties were screened by INEC for the polls, but the election results credited votes to 20 candidates. This is unlawful and unacceptable. We agree with the submission of the petitioners that votes were allotted to the candidates by INEC”.

Justice Tuktur, still on Ndako’s petition, further noted that after the petitioner (Ndako) had been validly nominated by his party, screened and cleared by INEC, he could not be excluded from the polls.

“There cannot be a free and fair election where candidates are not given equal opportunities. INEC should not be allowed to turn elections into an ‘Animal Farm’ where some animals are more equal than the others,” she said.

It was also a similar pronouncement on the petition brought by Oriaku of APGA as the two petitions toed the same line of argument.

On Oriaku, the judge said “the petition of the petitioner succeeds. The election is invalid and is hereby declared null and void and accordingly set aside. INEC is hereby ordered to conduct fresh election in the AMAC/Bwari federal constituency in the next three months.”

Reacting to the two judicial pronouncements immediately after, the caretaker chairman of the ANPP, FCT chapter, Umaru Duhu, said both the national body and the FCT branch of the party were not satisfied with the verdicts.

“Both the national and the FCT chapter along with our team of lawyers will study the judgments and go on appeal,” he said.

For his own part, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate for the FCT in the April 21 election, Adamu Sidi Ali, applauded the five justices of the tribunal, saying “it is victory for Nigeria, victory for the FCT and victory for the PDP”.

“I have confidence in the court… that the court will always dispense justice accordingly,” he said.

 

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