The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal for Adamawa State has declared Senator Elisha Abbo the authentic winner of the seat for Adamawa North in the Nigerian Senate.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Abbo, running on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the winner of the February 23, 2019.
However, his victory was challenged by Binta Garba of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who occupied the seat between 2015 and 2019.
She alleged that the election witnessed irregularities including over-voting, failure to use card readers, as well as intimidation of voters and party agents.
However, in a ruling delivered on Thursday, the court sided with Abbo, who has courted controversy for the past two months for assaulting a woman in Abuja.
The tribunal chairman, Justice Sulaiman Akanbi, ruled that Garba failed to provide evidence to back the claims in her petition.
Garba’s counsel, Yakubu Bello, disclosed that the tribunal’s decision will be contested at the Court of Appeal.
Abbo took to his Facebook page to express satisfaction with the tribunal’s decision to affirm him the winner of the election.
“The voice of the people is the voice of Power. We have won our case at the tribunal. We would be forever victorious. Let’s give God the glory all the time. Thank you my people,” he posted.
The emergence of a video that captured Abbo savagely assaulting a woman, Warmate Osimibibra, in Abuja led to widespread outrage in July 2019.
The victim was treated for eye inflammation and other injuries sustained during the attack that reportedly took place on May 11, 2019, exactly one month before Abbo was sworn into the 9th Senate.
He savagely slapped the woman three times in the video and pushed her in the head after she tried to intervene when he aggressively tried to snatch the phone of a sales clerk inside a sex toy shop in Abuja.
Despite initial defiance, the lawmaker issued a very public, teary-eyed apology to his victim and asked her, and Nigerians, for forgiveness days after the video’s emergence.
However, he pleaded not guilty to two counts of criminal use of force and criminal assault when he was arraigned before the court last month. He was granted a N5 million bail while the case continued.
The lawmaker missed the court hearing on Tuesday, August 20 due to an illness according to his counsel, Isaac Adeniyi, who said he was on admission in a hospital in Yola.
“The defendant is not in court, the reason being that the defendant is down with an acute febrile illness. We have the surety in court and he came with the medical report from the hospital. We graciously ask to come back some other day,” Adeniyi said.
Chief Magistrate, Abdullahi Ilelah, adjourned further hearing of the assault case till September 24.
The Senate set up an ad-hoc committee early in July to investigate the incident and report back in two weeks, but the probe has stalled.