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Niger: Tribunal affirms Gov Aliyu’s election

Posted by By AKIN ALOFETEKUN/Minna on 2008/06/10 | Views: 1357 |

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Niger: Tribunal affirms Gov Aliyu’s election


The election petition tribunal sitting in Minna, Niger State, on Monday affirmed the election of Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu in the April 14, 2007 governorship polls, describing the petition by the ANPP candidate in the said election, Barrister David Umaru, as structurally defective.

The election petition tribunal sitting in Minna, Niger State, on Monday affirmed the election of Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu in the April 14, 2007 governorship polls, describing the petition by the ANPP candidate in the said election, Barrister David Umaru, as structurally defective.

In a unanimous judgment read by the chairman of the five-man tribunal, Justice Suleiman Kawu, the tribunal said that the petitioner failed to prove that the PDP candidate was not fit to contest the election. Also, the tribunal said the petitioner did not obtain the highest number of lawful votes cast to be declared governor by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Citing several legal authorities, the tribunal averred that the governorship election conducted in Niger State, last year, was in substantial conformity with the provisions of the constitution as well as the those of the Electoral Act.

According to the tribunal, the claim that the respondent was fraudulent was abandoned by the petitioner when he could not support the claim. Similarly, the tribunal said evidence before it showed that the respondent officially disengaged from service well over 30 days before the election, while the claim that he received his February salary, despite his earlier disengagement, was repudiated by the respondent’s counsel with evidence that the February salary posted into his account was immediately paid back into the Federal Government treasury.

The tribunal asserted that it would be wrong to hold the respondent responsible for the mistake of another person, since there was no proof that he made use of the money before returning it.
Kawu equally observed that the governor paid the mandatory three months salary in lieu of notice.

On the issue of who scored the highest number of lawful votes in the election, the tribunal observed that only 109,400 of the 443,753 votes could be said to be invalid, pointing out that the remaining 334, 353votes still put the respondent well ahead of other contestants and therefore declared the governor as being validly elected in the April 14, 2007 governorship election.

Counsel to the petitioner, Mr. Yakubu Maikaiu, disagreed with the judgment and gave the indication of going to the appeal court. Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Niger State, Alhaji Adamu Usman, described the judgment as victory for democracy.

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