17th May, 2012
THE Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lokoja on Thursday ruled that Captain Idris Wada of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, was the duly elected governor of Kogi state in the 3 December 2011 election.
Prince Abubakar Audu of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, had gone to the tribunal challenging the declaration of Wada as governor by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Delivering his judgment, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Suleiman Anbursa declared that the petitioners have failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.
He noted that the petitioners wanted the tribunal to determine whether the first respondent was qualified to contest the poll, and whether the election complied with the guidelines as stipulated by the Electoral Act determined four matters or grounds.
Other grounds were whether the petitioner got the highest votes cast and whether the allegations regarding the conduct of the polls generally affected its outcome.
Based on the practice direction, he noted that the onus lies on the petitioners to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt, regretting that they could not substantiate those allegations.
He explained that the allegations of multiple voting, electoral violence, rigging and inducement of voters by the petitioners were neither here nor there, as the testimonies of the witnesses were contradictory.
Justice Anbursa added that whether by oral or documentary, evidence, the petitioners have failed woefully to prove their allegations, prompting the judgment to be decided in favour of the respondents.
He subsequently dismissed the petition for want of evidence and affirmed the election of Captain Idris Wada.
Meanwhile, Governor Wada, who thanked God for granting him victory, has described his victory at the tribunal as testimony of the fact that the people of the state voted for him.
The governor, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media Affairs and Strategy, Mr. Jacob Edi, said from every indication the ACN lost, which shows that they only went to tribunal for the fun of it.
“The door is open for the opposition parties, they should come and join hands with us so that we can move the state forward,” he admonished.
Also reacting to the judgment, the governorship candidate of ACN, Prince Abubakar Audu said he was going to appeal the judgment which he described as a mere judgment without justice.
“The battle to reclaim our mandate is the battle of no retreat no surrender, believing that the whole thing was one sided, as there was no mention or reference to any cross-examination of PDP,” he lamented.
Audu, who spoke through Mr. Dino Melaye, noted that they would do everything legally possible to reclaim their stolen mandate.
The Deputy Governor, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi described the tribunal’s verdict as a collective victory for the people of the state who are yearning for good governance.