Anxiety grips Bauchi residents as Tribunal fixes October 7 for judgment
Palpable tension and anxiety has now gripped residents of Bauchi State particularly politicians in the camps of ruling PDP and the opposition APC, as the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has fixed Monday, October 7, 2019, as the day for the final ruling in the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC), challenging the declaration of Senator Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir as the winner of the gubernatorial election in the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Bauchi State chapter of the APC had filed the petition seeking nullification of the declaration of Senator Bala Mohammed as the duly elected Governor of Bauchi State and declare its candidate, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar as the winner of the governorship election alleging electoral malpractice particularly in Tafawa-Balewa, Bogoro and Bauchi LGAs.
While presenting their written arguments to the Tribunal on Wednesday at its sitting in Bauchi, the APC prayed the court to order INEC to annull the declaration of the PDP candidate as the winner of the gubernatorial election over alleged over voting and non- compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
Counsel to the petitioner argued that over 306 polling units were affected in Tafawa-Balewa and Bogoro local governments, adding that the clear cases of over-voting witnessed during the conduct of the election was enough to nullify INEC’s declaration of PDP candidate in accordance with the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.
They prayed the court to order INEC to sort out votes that are invalid from valid votes, stating that the process would reveal that the APC candidate would be the winner of the governorship election.
Meanwhile, there was a mild drama when Prosecution Witness 5 presented by the petitioner, when asked to come forward during his presentation admitted that he was not an expert with figures, a position that contradicted the claim of by the petitioner.
Nevertheless, the APC Counsel remained optimistic that the admittance of Prosecution Witness 5 would not affect the outcome of the case as it is only the court that can determine whether he was indeed an expert or not as they remain sure that justice would be done by the Tribunal and victory would go their way.
Also while presenting their written argument, Counsel to the second defendant who was the PDP candidate, Senator Bala Mohammed, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), argued that the petitioner failed to established their case and urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition brought by the APC against their client for lacking merit.
Chairman of the Three-man Tribunal, Justice Salihu Shuibu, after listening to all the parties involved in the case, adopted their final written arguments and fixed Monday, October 7 as the date for final judgment.
When our Correspondent visited the court premises, hundreds of supporters of both the PDP and APC thronged the area and waited outside the court premises to know the outcome of the petition.
Earlier in the day security operatives had cordoned the entire area leading to the court premises where incidentally INEC headquarter in the state is located, resulting in traffic logjam along the Ahmadu Bello road.
While speaking with Journalists earlier, the Police Commissioner, Habu Sani, disclosed that the Police was prepared to provide adequate security during the sitting of the tribunal and warned those who want to cause trouble to have a rethink and drop the idea because according to him, the full wrath of the law will be brought to bear on miscreants or anyone caught causing breach of law and order no matter his or her status and position .