Tribunal reserves judgment on forgery case against Sokoto gov, deputy
The Sokoto Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has reserved judgment in the petition against Gov. Ahmed Aliyu and his Deputy, Idris Gobir, filed by Sa’idu Umar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
After hearing and adopting their respective final written addresses on Saturday, the three-member panel of justices led by Haruna Mshelia reserved judgment adding that a date would be communicated to parties in September.
The Petitioner, Sa’idu Umar of the PDP is challenging the election of Gov. Aliyu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his deputy, Gobir over non-qualification and electoral fraud during the March 18 governorship election.
At the sitting, lead Counsel to the petitioner, Aare Olumuyiwa Akinboro SAN urged the Tribunal to consider the evidence and witnesses from party agents that proved gross irregularities in the election mostly marred by violence.
Akinboro argued that more importantly, the evidence that showed the discrepancy in Gov. Aliyu’s secondary school and university certificates that were different from the Independent National Electoral Commission presented documents.
He prayed the Tribunal to take cognizance of the School Register of Town Primary School, Sabon Birni from 1986-1987 and a letter from Town Model Primary School Sabon Birni.
He highlighted that records of all registered schools in Sabon Birni Local Government from the Federal Ministry of Education, State Universal Basic Education Board and Local Government Education Authority and other related exhibits should be strictly perused.
He added that none of the government agencies have records of the existence of “Model Primary School” as claimed by Gobir to be the school that issued him the primary certificate.
Akinboro argued that Petitioners have successfully established facts in proof of all the grounds as 32 competent witnesses that comprised INEC officials, State PDP chairman, Headmaster of the Town Model Primary School, Sabon Birni, and others were presented and admitted documents.
He further urged the Tribunal to dismiss all the preliminary objections on competency to institute the case.
He also urged the Tribunal to disregard objections on the admissibility of documents tendered as they were relevant.
The petitioner’s Counsel argued based on the submissions, that the Respondents at the time of the election were not qualified to contest the election and prayed that by virtue of the non-qualification, votes were wrongfully attributed to them.
According to him, Respondents abandoned facts as they presented two defence witnesses that were unable to counter or prove otherwise the facts presented by 32 witnesses and a bundle of evidence.
He prayed the tribunal to void Aliyu’s election and declare Umar the winner of the March 18, 2023 governorship election.
Petitioners also prayed the tribunal to mandate INEC to issue a new certificate of return to the petitioner as the duly elected Governor of Sokoto state having scored the majority of the lawful votes cast or ordered for another election excluding the Respondents.
Counsel to the respondent led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN also adopted their final written addresses, disagreeing with arguments and “heaven will not fall” if the Tribunal dismiss the petition.
APC Counsel, Mr Hassan Liman SAN, argued that mere variation of name does not validate candidacy as the arrangement of names does deter Gov. Aliyu’s qualification.
The Respondents prayed the Tribunal to dismiss the petition and uphold the election of Gov. Aliyu and Gobir.