By Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
Palpable tension and anxiety has now gripped residents of Bauchi State particularly politicians in the camps of ruling People Democratic Party and the opposition All Progressives Congress as the Bauchi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal delivers judgement in the petition of the APC Gubernatorial candidate in the last election, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, challenging the victory of Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed.
THISDAY checks revealed heavy security presence across the state capital with armed Police personnel and other security operatives cordoning off the roads to the premises of the tribunal along the ever busy Ahmadu Bello Way and Yandoka road to prevent miscreants and other hoodlums from getting entry into the court premises.
Our Correspondent also reports that supporters of the two political parties (PDP and APC) stormed the surrounding areas as early as 6.00am awaiting the outcome of the court proceeding.
It would be recalled that the Bauchi State chapter of the APC had filed the petition seeking nullification of the declaration of Senator Bala Mohammed as the duly elected Governor of Bauchi State, alleging electoral malpractice particularly in Tafawa-Balewa, Bogoro and Bauchi Local Government Areas of the state.
While presenting their written arguments to the tribunal penultimate Wednesday at its sitting in Bauchi, the APC prayed the court to order INEC to annul the declaration of the PDP candidate as the winner of the gubernatorial election over alleged over voting and noncompliance with provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
Counsel to the petitioner argued that over 306 polling units were affected in Tafawa-Balewa and Bogoro local governments, adding that the clear cases of over-voting witnessed during the conduct of the election was enough to nullify INEC’s declaration of PDP candidate in accordance with the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.
They prayed the court to order INEC to sort out votes that were invalid from valid votes, stating that the process would reveal that the APC candidate would be the winner of the governorship election.
Meanwhile, during the last sitting, there was a mild drama when Prosecution Witness 5 presented by the petitioner, when asked to come forward during his presentation, admitted that he was not an expert on figures, a position that contradicted the claim of by the petitioner.
Nevertheless, the APC Counsel remained optimistic that the admittance of Prosecution Witness 5 would not affect the outcome of the case as it is only the court that can determine whether he was indeed an expert or not as they remain sure that justice would be done by the tribunal and victory would go their way.
Also while presenting their written argument, Counsel to the second defendant who was the PDP candidate, Senator Bala Mohammed, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), argued that the petitioner failed to establish their case and urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition brought by the APC against their client for lacking merit.
Chairman of the three-man Tribunal, Justice Salihu Shuibu, after listening to all the parties involved in the case, adopted their final written arguments and fixed Monday, October 7 as the date for judgment.
More details later..