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Tribunal dismisses ADC’s governorship election petition in Gombe

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Court

GOMBE State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has dismissed the suit filed by the African Democratic Congress (ADC) challenging the victory of Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in last governorship election.

The petition was nullified and dismissed by the court over question of competency of the petitioner’s counsel, Mr. Sam Kagbo, as a legal practitioner.

The tribunal chairman, Justice Mohammad Sirajo, in his ruling stated that based on the provision of Section 1(2) and 24 of the Legal Practitioner’s Act, only persons who’s names are on the roll of legal practitioners can practise as Barristers or Solicitors in the court.

According to him, the nullification of the petition was on the basis that the name Sam Kagbo was not on the roll of Nigerian legal practitioners, and that by interpretation, the name or who ever bears the same, was not entitled, qualified, or have the right for audience in the court as granted to legal practitioners in Section 8 of the Legal Practitioners Act and Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Justice Sirajo, who ruled that petition remained competent based on the fact that it was signed by both Sam Kagbo and the petitioner, Alhaji Jafar Abubakar, also added that bound to its ruling of July 9, it was also a unanimous decision of the tribunal which has not been set aside by the entire judicial authority.

He ruled that all processes filed, including proceedings conducted by the Sam Kagbo on behalf of the petitioner, remained nullified on wants of competence.

In another development, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate of Dukku/Nafada Federal Constituency, Alhaji Sambo Saad, has alleged that insurgents disrupted the conduct of March 28, 2015 election.

Saad disclosed this to journalists in Gombe shortly after the tribunal sitting, saying: “On the Election Day, the Boko Haram members attacked Nafada Local Council and disrupted the election, leaving people in disarray.

“Many voters left the polling unit and fled for their lives but the electoral body went ahead and declared the result of the election in favour of the APC candidate.

“We have earlier complained to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) thinking that it will cancel the election but they did not.”

Earlier, the first respondent’s counsel, Mr. Solomon Umoh (SAN), submitted an application before the tribunal questioning the competence of the petitioner’s counsel, insisting that the name Sam Kagbo with which the petitioner’s counsel appeared before the tribunal was not the same as Samuel Peter Kagbo and does not exist in the roll of Nigerian legal practitioners. The respondent’s application also raised issues of jurisdiction of the tribunal on the matter.

Meanwhile, shortly after the court session, the petitioner’s counsel told journalists that the ruling was straightforward, but said the matter had already been taken to the Court of Appeal for redress based on the earlier ruling of the tribunal, saying: “We verily believe that this ruling will not stand; the only fear we have for now is the limited time left for us to conclude this tribunal sitting. We pray that the Court of Appeal would attend to us as early as possible so that we can come quickly and continue with the job. Certainly, we are coming back.”

Speaking with journalists after the tribunal sitting, Mr. Sunday Ameh (SAN), counsel to the first respondent, Hajiya Aishatu Jibir, a member representing Dukku/Nafada Federal Constituency under APC, said two out of the three witnesses testified.

Ameh also said they were satisfied with the progress so far made at the tribunal.

Also speaking, Mr. Caleb Ubale, counsel to the petitioner, Saad, PDP’s candidate for Dukku/Nafada Federal Constituency, said initially they were supposed to present three witnesses today, but they were able to present two.

Chairman of the tribunal, Mrs. Roseline Adamu, adjourned the trial to August 7 and 8 for further hearing and defence.



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