By Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto
The Election Petition Tribunal in Sokoto state, on Wednesday adjourned sitting till August 26, for adoption of addresses as Gov. Ahmad Aliyu and All Progressive Congress (APC), led two witnesses to close defence.
Tribunal Chairman, Justice Haruna Mshelia, adjourned the case after the Respondents, Gov. Ahmad Aliyu, his Deputy, Idris Gobir, and APC closed their defence against a petition filed by Mallam Sa’idu Umar, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the 2023 election.
Umar had led 32 witnesses to prove his petition and prayed the Tribunal to void Aliyu’s election as well as declare him winner of the March 18, 2023 governorship election.
In Wednesday’s sitting, the Respondent Counsel, Mallam Yusuf Ali SAN, led the APC Assistant Secretary in Sokoto state, Yakubu Maccido, while Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN led the new Headmaster of “Model Primary School” Sabon Birni, Jamilu Yakubu, in their testimony before the Tribunal.
Yakubu testified that Gobir attended his school which he said had changed its name to “Model Primary School” Sabon Birni and presented a school register which was admitted as exhibit while Maccido testified that the election had complied with the requirements of law and prayed the Tribunal to dismiss the petition.
During cross-examination by Petitioner’s Counsel, led by Dr. Garba Tetengi SAN through Aare Olumuyiwa Akinboro SAN, official names of all primary schools in Sabon Birni local government area of Sokoto as obtained from the Federal Ministry of Education, State Universal Basic Education as well as records from Sabon Birni local government education authority were tendered through the star witness which were earlier admitted in exhibits
After series of arguments and presentations, Justice Mshelia ordered parties to file written addresses and adjourned to August 26, for adoption of addresses as required by law.
Umar and PDP had approached the tribunal demanding the nullification of the March 18, 2023 election that produced Gov. Ahmad Aliyu of APC and his Deputy, Idris Gobir as winners.
In the petition, they alleged that the election was flawed and did not comply with electoral laws.
The petitioners argued that at the time of the election, the Respondents were not qualified to contest the election and prayed that by virtue of the non-qualification of the Respondents to contest the election, votes were wrongfully attributed to them.
They argued that their said election had become unlawful, null and void.
They further prayed the tribunal to mandate INEC to issue a new certificate of return to the petitioner as the duly elected Governor of Sokoto State having scored the majority of the lawful votes cast or ordered for another election excluding the Respondents.