The governorship election petition tribunal sitting in the Kaduna has upheld the election of Nasir el-Rufai, governor of the State.
El-Rufai, who contested under the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC), was reelected in March but Isah Ahsiru, his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) opponent, filed an appeal against his victory at the tribunal.
In his petition, the PDP candidate had alleged that irregularities trailed the conduct of the March 9 election and asked the tribunal to declare him winner.
The petitioners in their final written address, asked the tribunal to cancel a total of 515,951 votes which it contended were unlawfully added to the total votes cast during the March 9 poll.
The petitioners had called 135 witnesses out of the 685 they assembled to prove alleged massive rigging, ballot stuffing and other irregularities during the poll as contained in their petition.
The petitioners had accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of adding 391,741 to el-Rufai’s votes.
They also contended that declaring el-Rufai winner by INEC was illegal as he did not score majority of lawful votes.
Abdulhakeem Mustapha, counsel to el-Rufai, the 2nd respondent in the petition, asked the tribunal “to invoke its majestic powers to dismiss the petition as lacking in merit.
“And to confirm that the 2nd respondent, Malam Nasiru El Rufai as duly elected as governor of Kaduna State in the March 9 election. “
Mustapha said: “we have been able to tell the court that all the witnesses called by the petitioners failed woefully to prove the ingredient of the fact relied upon in their petition.
“The onus is on the petitioners to come with credible evidence and all the testimonies of the witnesses produced by the petitioners were demolished under cross examination.
“There is nothing that the court will see to be persuaded to give judgment in their favor, we have been able to show with the witnesses we called that the election was conducted in conformity with the provision of the electoral Act.
“We are very satisfied with the proceedings and we are very sure that justice will be done and sure that Malam Nasiru El-Rufai was duly elected by the people of Kaduna State.
“On behalf of the 2nd respondent, the final written address which was dated 2nd August, was filed on 3rd August, 2019, while the 2nd respondent filed a reply on fact of law on August 16.”
Delivering judgment on Monday, Ibrahim Bako, chairman of the three-man panel, said the petitioner was unable to prove his allegations of massive rigging and electoral irregularities.
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