The Sokoto State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, on Wednesday 2nd October 2019, upheld the election of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of the Peoples Democratic Party.
In a unanimous judgment delivered in Abuja by its three-man panel, the tribunal dismissed the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress and its governorship candidate, Ahmed Aliyu, to challenge the governor’s victory at the March 9, 2019 poll.
The tribunal led by Justice Bawale Abdullahi held that the petitioners failed to adduce credible evidence to prove their case.
It held that the results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission were presumed to be regular and could only be adjudged to be unreliable if the petitioners discharged the burden of proof placed on them by law.
It held that the petitioners failed to lead credible evidence to discharge the burden of proof, as it dismissed documentary evidence tendered by them on the grounds that the exhibits were not properly certified.
It held that the testimonies of most of the witnesses relied on by the petitioners were hearsay which was unreliable in law.
The tribunal chairman, Abdullahi, who delivered the lead judgment, noted that while some of the petitioners’ witnesses made their written statements in the Hausa language, the petitioners blundered by only tendering the version of the statements translated in the English language, as exhibits.
Other members of the panel, Justices E.N. Anyadike, and Kadi M.A. Oniye agreed with the lead judgment.
INEC had declared the Sokoto State governorship election held on March 9, 2019, as inconclusive.
A re-run poll that was conducted on March 23, which saw Tambuwal emerge victorious with a slim margin of 342 votes.
Dissatisfied with the outcome, Aliyu and his party, alleging irregularities in the conduct of the poll, filed their petition before the tribunal to challenge Tambuwal’s victory.
The petitioners, through their lead counsel, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), called a total of 10 witnesses that testified before the tribunal, while Tambuwal, through his lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala (SAN) closed his defense after he presented eight witnesses that included INEC officials.
The PDP and INEC did not call witnesses.
Before delivering the lead judgment on Wednesday, the tribunal had earlier dismissed the separate preliminary objections filed by the respondents Tambuwal, the PDP and the INEC.