The Election Petition Tribunal in Sokoto state, on Tuesday, admitted in evidence two documents on Deputy Governor, Idris Gobir’s, educational qualifications and adjourned sitting until July 19.
Tribunal Chairman, Justice Haruna Mshelia, adjourned the case after the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its 2023 Governorship candidate, Alhaji Sa’idu Umar, closed their testimonies to prove their petition.
Mshelia adjourned for the All Progressives Congress, APC, Gov. Ahmad Aliyu and Gobir to open thier defence.
The exhibits admitted are from the Saboon Birni Local Government Education Authority, LGEA, tendered through Mr Muyiwa Akinboro, SAN, the lead Counsel to the PDP and its 2023 Governorship candidate, Alhaji Sa’idu Umar.
Akinboro led the state party chairman, Alhaji Bello Goronyo, who was the last among 32 witnesses lined up to prove the petition at the Tribunal.
In his testimony, Goronyo said he delegated some party members as agents and received reports on election violence and associated frauds which were compiled and submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and other relevant authorities.
He admitted that some persons were arrested on alleged violence and malpractices, however, could not attest to their being prosecuted or not.
The party chairman told the tribunal that he was not aware on any court judgment on Gov. Aliyu and his deputy, Gobir’s eligibility to contest the election.
Akinboro also presented the Head of Operations of INEC in Sokoto, Abdulmumini Usman, who produced some election documents in evidence.
The lead Respondents’ Counsel, Chief Jecob Ochidi, SAN, and that of the APC, Hassan Liman, SAN, objected to the admissibility of the documents.
INEC lead Counsel, Mr AbdulAziz Sani, SAN also aligned himself with the submissions of the respondents’ counsel.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that Umar and PDP approached the tribunal demanding the nullification of the March 18, 2023 election that produced Gov. Ahmad Aliyu of All Progressive Congress, APC, and his Deputy, Idris Gobir as winners.
In the petition, they alleged that the election was flawed and did not comply with electoral laws.
The petitioners argued that at the time of the election, the respondents were not qualified to contest the election and prayed that by virtue of the non-qualification of the respondents to contest the election, votes were wrongfully attributed to them.
They argued that the said election has become unlawful, null and void.
They further prayed the tribunal to mandate INEC to issue a new certificate of return to the petitioner as the duly elected Governor of Sokoto State having scored the majority of the lawful votes cast or order for another election excluding the respondents.