Francis Sardauna in Katsina
As the Governorship, National and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Katsina is set to deliver its judgement today, confusion and anxiety has gripped leaders, candidates and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
The tribunal, which had been holding its sitting at the Katsina State High Court, had on September 16, 2019 relocated to a Magistrate Court in Abuja, citing security reasons for its move.
The 2019 governorship candidate of the opposition PDP, Senator Yakubu Lado and his party had dragged Governor Aminu Bello Masari and the ruling APC before the tribunal challenging the result of the March 9, 2019 governorship poll.
Lado, in a petition filed through his Counsel, Goddy Uche, SAN, six months ago, is asking the tribunal to nullify the election and order for a rerun over alleged irregularities.
The PDP and its candidate also prayed that the tribunal should disqualify Governor Aminu Masari of APC, who won the March 9 governorship election on the ground that he had no requisite educational qualification to contest the election.
But Governor Masari, through his lawyer, Ernest Obunadike, dismissed the allegations and prayed the tribunal to dismiss them for “lack of merit”.
Investigation by THISDAY revealed that despite widespread commendation that greeted the conduct of the governorship election that gave victory to the APC, members of the APC are not at ease as PDP stalwarts in the state keep boasting that the tribunal would nullify the election today.
A credible source in PDP told our correspondent that whatever would be the judgement of the three-man panel today, it would just be the beginning of a long judicial battle between PDP and APC in the state.
He said: “Even if the tribunal will rule against us on Saturday (toda), the matter will go through the appeal court and finally decided at the supreme Court. So, we have just started the long judicial battle in Katsina”.
He affirmed that the party and its candidate had tendered certified true copies of voters’ registers to the tribunal adding: “that the total votes that returned the Governor Masari did not tally with the number of accredited voters”
In the APC, though Masari, its candidate in the poll was declared winner and inaugurated as Governor, it has been like a bird perching on a crag in the mountains and thereby having no concentration.
However, the State Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Abubakar Gambo Dan-musa, said that there was nothing to worry about the judgement as the tribunal would affirm Governor Masari’s victory.
According to him, “We are not afraid of the judgement because Governor Aminu Bello Masari and APC as a party, won the 2019 governorship election on merits. Infact, victory is ours come this Saturday”.