Tribunal Affirms El-Rufai’s Victory

Nasir El-Rufai

John Shiklam in Kaduna

A Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kaduna, Kaduna State has upheld the election of Governor Nasir el-Rufai of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the March 9 governorship election.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Ashiru Isa, had filed a petition before the tribunal, challenging the declaration of el-Rufai by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as winner of the March 9 governorship election on the grounds that the election was flawed with fraud and irregularities.

The PDP had in its final written address asked the tribunal to cancel a total of 515,951 votes, which it claimed were unlawfully added to the APC as well as 124,210 unlawful votes, which it said were also added to the PDP, through wrong or double entry on the result sheets by INEC.

The petitioners had called 135 witnesses out of the 685 they assembled to prove the alleged massive rigging, ballot stuffing and other irregularities during the election.

However, in a unanimous decision, the tribunal headed by Justice Ibrahim Bako declared that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations beyond reasonable doubt that there was massive irregularity during the election.

The tribunal maintained that the petitioners did not provide any factual proof that the INEC was wrong in returning el-Rufai as duly elected governor of Kaduna State and therefore, dismissed the petition, saying it lacks merit.

Reacting to the judgment, state PDP Chairman, Mr. Hassan Hyat, said the party would appeal the decision of the tribunal.