The National and House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Jos, Plateau on Monday upheld the victory of Ibrahim Baba-Hassan of the APC, as winner of the Jos North Constituency in the March 9 re-run.
Delivering judgment, Justice Theophilus Nzeugwu, Tribunal Chairman, described the forgery allegations against the Plateau lawmaker as “frivolous” and “unsubstantiated.”
Munir Abdullahi-Barau, PDP candidate in the 2019 State House of Assembly elections and his party had urged the Tribunal to quash the election of Baba-Hassan and Oder for a fresh election in Jos North Constituency having allegedly forged University of Jos Diploma certificate in Business Administration
Barau told the Tribunal that Baba-Hassan was not in the first place qualified to contest the February 23 Assembly elections having used a forged certificate to contest the election.
He also claimed that the election was marred with corrupt practices and in non-compliance with the electoral Act and so the tribunal should declared winner of the election or order a fresh election in the constituency.
But the tribunal disagreed with the petitioners on the ground that they failed woefully in proving all the allegations raised against the lawmaker, APC and INEC.
“The burden of proof squarely rest with the petitioners and until they prove their allegations beyond reasonable doubt, none can stand.
“By section 139 of the Evidence Act, the issue of forgery, which criminal in nature must be proved beyond reasonable doubt otherwise it shall have no leg to stand before any competent law court or this tribunal.
“It’s unfortunate that the petitioners could not prove their case of against Baba-Hassan as expected of them therefore the issues for determination before us are hereby resolved in favour of the respondents.
“Consequently, this petition is lacking in merit and is hereby struck out and dismissed in its entirety,” Nzeugwu declared.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after judgment, Baba-Hassan, expressed gratitude to God for the victory granted to him at the tribunal.
The lawmaker said that with the case coming to an end Monday, September 23, he could concentrate on how he could serve the people in his constituency better.
According to him, “today’s victory is the victory of the people of my constituency and Plateau as a whole toward our collective growth and development”.