Kano guber dispute: INEC, Ganduje, Abba adopt final defence
The petitioners and respondents in the legal tussle over the 2019 governorship elections in Kano state on Wednesday adopted their final defence before the gubernatorial Election Tribunal presided by Justice Halima Shamaki sitting at Miller road Court complex.
Abba Kabiru Yusuf (1st petitioner) alongside Peoples Democratic party(PDP) (2nd petitioner) had dragged Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC (1st respondent)Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (2nd respondent) All Progress Congress (APC) (3rd respondent) challenging the declaration of Ganduje as the winner of Kano governorship election.
The respondents in their final written addresses urge the court to dismiss the pleadings made by the petitioners, stating that the petitioner has failed to discharge the burden on prove.
The respondents further urged the court that the exhibits that were tendered from the bar by the petitioners were not Certified True Copies (CTC) therefore pray the tribunal to dismiss the petition in its entirety.
Counsel to the 1st respondent(INEC) Ahmed Raji(SAN) told the court that the issues raised by the petitioners was bankrupt in merit, he argued that the petition lacked the fertility of life.
Raji(SAN) submitted that Abba Kabiru failed to produce direct evidence to substantiate his claims that INEC wrongfully declared his opponent, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as the winner of the poll, arguing that the electoral act is strict on the petitioners appealing to the tribunal to on this grounds dismiss the petition.
Abdullahi Umar Ganduje(2nd respondent) responding to the petition filed against his gubernatorial victory before the tribunal said the petitioner failed to produce a result that was contrary to that which was declared by INEC.
Ganduje through his counsel, Offiong Offiong(SAN) submitted that Abba Kabiru invoked presumptions in attempt to prove to the court that he was duly elected as Kano state governor, praying the court to dismiss the claims made by the petitioners.
The 3rd respondent, All progressive Congress, APC also in its defence told the tribunal that the petitioners in their claims made an unlawful translation of the provisions of the law.
The respondents through its counsel Alex Iziyon(SAN) further said the petitioners failed to tender voters register that indicate the number of voters, who voted and number of votes scored to substantiate their claim as winners of the elections.
According to him, INEC possess the inherent jurisdiction to cancel elections and proceed to order for a rerun, arguing that on March 9th 2019 INEC acted rightly by declaring the Kano state governorship election as inconclusive.
Iziyon(SAN) further argued that the petitioners in their claims to election victory acted in contrast to the provisions of the law by presenting Pink Copies result sheets, explaining that jurisprudence has transited from submission of Pink Copies to another stage, on this ground he pray the court to dismiss the petition and uphold the emergence of All Progressive Congress, APC and its candidate Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as winner of the election.
Responding to the submissions made by the respondent, counsel to the petitioners, Kanu Agabi(SAN) urge the court to ignore the response from the respondents on the issues raised.
Agabi(SAN) said on the 9th of March 2019 elections were held and results were announced, adding that Abba Kabiru Yusuf of the PDP scored the highest number of votes unfortunately INEC refused to declare PDP as the winner of that election.
He argued that the rerun election held on the 23rd of March is null and void, stressing that therefore the results from the rerun, which declared Abdullahi Umar Ganduje as duly elected Kano state governor was null and void, that the court should declare the results of the 9th of march 2019 as the valid results and return PDP and its candidate Abba Kabiru Yusuf as the winner of the election, urging the tribunal to so hold.
However, our reporter observed that anxiety, apprehension and palpable fears have enveloped the ancient city of Kano as residents are gripped under the fear of the likely outcome of the legal battle between both political giants.
It would be recalled that at the height of the court proceedings, the chairman of the tribunal Justice Halima Shamaki reacting to the tense atmosphere that had trailed the proceeding threatened to relocate the tribunal from Kano to Abuja.
Throughout the security of the proceedings heavily armed security operatives were stationed at strategic positions as they disallowed hundreds of party faithful who were usually eager to gain entrance into the court complex to witness the epic legal battle.
In her ruling, Justice Shamaki said the tribunal would communicate to the parties, concerned the date that the final judgment would be delivered