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Kebbi Governor floors PDP candidate at Appeal Court to retain victory

The panel deducted 1,735 votes from APC while over 900 votes were also taken away from PDP’s results.

Kebbi State Governor, Nasir Idris [PUNCH]

The three-member panel, in a unanimous judgment, dismissed the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Aminu Bande, for lack of merit.

The appellate court, in a judgment delivered by Justice Ndukwe Anyanwu, resolved all the five issues formulated for determination in favour of the governor and against PDP.

The court held that the appellants failed to establish all the allegations brought up against the governor in their petition.

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It held that the allegations of forgery of testimonial brought against the Deputy Governor of the state, Abubakar Umar Tafida, could not be established as required by law.

It also held that the issues of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act in the conduit of the election could not stand because the appellants failed to prove how the allegations substantially affected the poll.

The court, consequently, affirmed the judgment of the Kebbi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which had earlier dismissed the petition.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the election petition tribunal had, on Oct. 5, affirmed Idris as the duly elected governor.

The three-member tribunal dismissed the petition by the PDP and its governorship candidate, Aminu Bande.

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the March 18 Kebbi gubernatorial election inconclusive owing to “massive vote cancellation and over voting” in 20 of the 21 LGAs in the state.

The commission later fixed April 15 for a supplementary election.

At the end of the exercise, Idris, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), scored 409,225 votes to beat Bande, who got 360,940 votes.

Bande and his party rejected the result and filed a petition before the tribunal.

In the petition, the petitioners alleged that there was over-voting in some polling units and that Idris was not qualified to contest the poll.

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They also alleged that the deputy governor had submitted a fake secondary school testimonial to INEC.

However, in the judgment, Ofem Ofem, the chairman of the tribunal, held that the petitioners failed to prove beyond doubt that the third respondent (deputy governor) presented a fake certificate to INEC.

Ofem added that the evidence presented showed that the testimonial in question was duly signed and issued to him by the then principal of Sultan Abubakar College, Sokoto in 1982.

The tribunal chairman described the documents presented by the petitioners as “iron cast evidence” saying, “We state categorically that the third respondent did not forge certificate”.

On the issue of over-voting, Ofem said out of the 59 polling units being questioned, irregularities were discovered in nine.

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The panel deducted 1,735 votes from APC while over 900 votes were also taken away from PDP’s results.

The chairman, however, said the deduction of the votes would not affect the margin between the election winner and the runner-up.

He added that there was no substantial evidence to prove over-voting and irregularities in other polling units.

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