The lead Counsels to the petitioner’s and All Progressive Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 general election in Sokoto, Dr. Alex Izinyon, has disagree with INEC for declaring candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP), in the 2019 General and Supplementary Elections , Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, with a paltry votes differential of 342 votes.
Ahmed Aliyu, the Gubernatorial Candidate of the APC and his political party, had on 11th April 2019, dragged INEC, Tambuwal and the PDP before the 2019 Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Sokoto, challenging the declaration of Tambuwal as the winner.
The Petitioners cited myriad of cases of over-voting and substantial non-compliance with the laid down electoral laws and guidelines, thereby prayed the Tribunal to declare Ahmed Aliyu as the winner of the elections.
Dr. Izinyon stated this in Sokoto on Tuesday, during the adoption of Final Written Addresses by the Counsels of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Respondents, as well as the Petitioners.
According to him, “what brought the petition was the vote differents of 342 votes which is equivalent to a Polling Unit, with not more than 500 voters.
“There was no landslide votes differential like over 10,000 votes, to warrant the declaration of Tambuwal as the winner.
“If things were done rightly, we will have been returned as the winners. The Petitioners have proved their case on balance of probability, beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Speaking on the quality of the twelve witnesses presented by the Counsels of the Petitioners, Izinyon averred that, time was taken to do justice on it, adding, “what matters is quality and not quantity.
He added, “this is a case of two narrow areas: over voting and non-compliance. I have copiously proved that the Petitioners have made out their case.
“INEC went ahead like an Ostrich and it did not call any witnesses. So, we want the Tribunal to return us and declare Ahmed Aliyu as the winner.
“We want the Tribunal to do justice, sustain and uphold our prayers” he added.
The Senior Advocate further told the Tribunal that, the Petitioners have filed their final written address on the 17th of August, 2019.
He sought reliance on same and adopted the written address, which he described as, “robust, detailed and composite.”
Also, the Lead Counsel of the 1st Respondent, INEC, Alhassan Umar, said they filed their written address and reply on points of law, as well as wished to adopt same as their argument.
Umar urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition for lacking in merit and insisted that, the commission conducted the elections in substantial compliance with the nation’s electoral laws.
Also, the Lead Counsel of the 2nd Respondent, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, adopted their final written address and reply on points of law as their argument.
He submitted that the Petitioners have no locus standing to file the petition, saying “they are not qualified for the reliefs they are seeking, while there is no evidence to support the petition before the Tribunal”.
In his submission, the Lead Counsel for the 3rd Respondent, PDP, Jibrin Samuel Okutepa, SAN, also adopted their final written address and reply on points of law as their argument in the matter.
He urged the Tribunal to enter a verdict of dismissal of the petition, adding, ” I adopt the submissions of the Counsels of the 1st and 2nd Respondents and urge the Tribunal to dismiss the petition for being very, very, unmeritorious .”
The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Abdullahi Bawale, adjourned the matter for Judgment and reserved the date, disclosing that, it will be made known in due course.
Justice Bawale thanked the Counsels for their cooperation, saying, “this is the most friendly Tribunal I have ever presided.
“The mood was friendly and the atmosphere was not charged. I am assuming that we will do justice.”
Izinyon lauded the Tribunal Chairman and his colleagues for their patience and perseverance, while he expressed optimism that, they will do justice.
Ukala said, “from the Bar, we will also like to say that, we are very grateful. Throughout the process, there was no form of acrimony”
The 1st Petitioner, Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, was physically present at the Tribunal, throughout the proceedings.