PDP, APGA fault tribunal verdict upholding Yari as Zamfara gov
Also, the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Zamfara has vowed to challenge the ruling of the state election petition tribunal which upheld the election of Abdulaziz Yari as the elected governor of the state in an appeal court.
The state election petition tribunal yesterday in its final sitting struck out all the two petitions filed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and APGA governorship candidates, Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi and Abdullahi Shinkafi, challenging the declaration of Yari, due to lack of merit and substance in all the two petitions.
The PDP in a statement in Kaduna, declared that the ruling of the tribunal has raised a lot of doubts on the quality of justice dispensed, while calling on President Buhari to probe the judiciary in the ongoing war against corruption.
The statement which was signed by Alhaji Faruk Ahmed Gusau an Ex- Officio member of the PDP in the North West zone, said the decision of the tribunal headed by Justice Grace Onyebo to dismiss the petition of the PDP in spite of overwhelming evidences was shocking.
Former governor, Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi and his party, the PDP, which lost the April 2015 governorship election in the state had challenged the re-election of Yari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) before the tribunal on the grounds that he violated provisions of the Electoral Act and that there was over-voting across the state during the election.
But the tribunal chairperson, Justice Grace Onyebo in her ruling, declared that there were no formidable facts supporting the allegations before her, maintaining that the governor was duly elected. The judge also ruled that the petitioners lack evidence to establish that there was over-voting in the governorship election held in April 2015.
Gusau said: “The ruling was shocking to both learned and lay people who followed the proceedings from the beginning to the end.”
Recalling proceedings at the tribunal, he argued: “It was established that the APC primary election that produced Yari as its governorship candidate for Zamfara State in the elections violated section 85 of the Electoral Act.
According to the statement, “On August 11, 2015, a witness from INEC, subpoenaed by the tribunal said the commission was only aware of the primary election held on December 4, 2014. The witness also admitted that the first notice issued on September 19, 2014 expired on November 29, 2014 when the primary was expected to be held.
“Simple calculation confirms that the notice issued on November 18, 2014 for the primary election held on December 4, 2014, gave only 16 days notice and not 21 days as stipulated in the Electoral Act.
“In the absence of any other conflicting evidence, Justice Onyebo’s ruling accepted 16 days notice being in compliance with section 85 of the Electoral Act.”
He maintained further that, “It was another case of peculiar oversight of glaring facts when the tribunal chose to see no evil in the documents of evidence of over voting recorded in the Zamfara governorship election that purportedly produced Yari.
“Shinkafi and the PDP called witnesses and tendered INEC certified voters list for the election showing a total of 826,000 registered voters and a statement of result of the election showing a total of 924,820 votes cast.
“The INEC witness summoned by the APC by court order calculated the number of registered voters and the statement of results before telling the tribunal that there was over-voting across Zamfara State with 96,045 votes contrary to provisions of secretion 53 of the Electoral Act.”