Tribunal reserves judgment in Maku vs Al-Makura governorship petition
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Halima Mohammed, on Wednesday reserved the ruling sine die after counsels to all the parties adopted their final written addresses
The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Lafia, Nasarawa State has reserved ruling in the petition filed by Labaran Maku of the All Progressives Grand Alliance challenging the election of Governor Umaru Al-Makura.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Halima Mohammed, on Wednesday reserved the ruling sine die after counsels to all the parties adopted their final written addresses.
Mohammed said the tribunal had to be discrete about the date of the judgement considering the sensitive nature of the petition and the tension it had generated in the state.
She said the tribunal would through its Secretary communicate the agreed date to all the counsels three days before judgment date to avoid over crowding the tribunal premises.
She acknowledged that as humans, they could be fallible but pledged that they would deliver the judgment dispassionately.
Yusuf Ali, Yusuf Usman and Hassan Liman, all Senior Advocates of Nigeria and counsels to Al-Makura, the All Progressives Congress and the Independent National Electoral Commission respectively, in their final written submissions, urged the tribunal to dismiss Maku’s petition for lack of merit.
Ali argued that the petitioner, who won election in only one local government area out of 13, could not claim to be the winner of the April 11 governorship poll in the state.
He said the petitioner also failed to prove his alleged case of malpractice by the evidence presented at the tribunal.
On his part, Usman, counsel to APC, also urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition as the petitioner had failed to prove allegation of over voting beyond reasonable doubt.
Similarly, Liman, counsel to INEC, told the tribunal that the petitioner had failed to prove his allegation of the commission’s non compliance with relevant provisions of the Electoral Act during the poll.
Liman argued that INEC was empowered to create voting points under Section 42 of the electoral Act contrary to the claim by the petitioner that INEC lacked the power to do so.
Maku’s counsel, Joseph Gadzama (SAN), however, prayed the tribunal to declare his client winner of the governorship election on the grounds that he won with a margin of 26,000 votes.
Gadzama noted that INEC, which was at the centre of most of the allegations in the petition, failed to call witnesses to back up its defence.
He also said there was no counter inspection report by the respondent to the evidence tendered by the petitioner before the tribunal.