The Sokoto Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has reserved judgment in the petition filed by Sa’idu Umar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Governor Ahmad Aliyu and his Deputy, Idris Gobir.
After hearing and adopting their respective final written addresses on Saturday, the three-member panel of justices led my Haruna Mshelia reserved judgment adding that a date would be communicated to the parties in September.
The petitioner, Umar, is challenging the election of Governor Aliyu and Gobir of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over alleged non-qualification and alleged electoral fraud during March 18, 2023 governorship election.
At the sitting, lead counsel for the petitioner, Olumuyiwa Akinboro SAN, urged the Tribunal to consider the evidences and witnesses from party agents that proved “irregularities” in the election reportedly marred by violence.
Akinboro argued that the evidence showed alleged discrepancy in Governor Aliyu’s secondary school and university certificates, claiming that they were different from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) presented documents.
He prayed the Tribunal to take cognisance of the School Register of Town Primary School, Sabon Birni from 1986 to 1987 and a letter from Town Model Primary School Sabon Birni.
He highlighted that records of all registered schools in Sabon Birni Local Government Area from Federal Ministry of Education, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and Local Government Education Authority and other related exhibits should be strictly perused.
He added that none of the government agencies have records of existence of “Model Primary School” as claimed by Gobir to be the school that issued him primary certificate.
Akinboro argued that the petitioners have established “facts” to prove all the grounds as 32 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.
The counsel said the respondents at the time of the election were not qualified to contest the poll, claiming that votes were wrongfully attributed to them.
He prayed the Tribunal to void Aliyu’s election and declare Umar the winner of the March 18, 2023 governorship election.
On his part, counsel for the respondents led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) also adopted their final written addresses, disagreeing with arguments of the petitioner.
Olanipekun asked the Tribunal to dismiss the petition.
Also, APC Counsel, Hassan Liman (SAN), argued that mere variation of name does not validate candidacy as arrangement of names does deter Governor Aliyu’s qualification.
The respondents prayed the Tribunal to dismiss the petition and uphold the election of Governor Aliyu and Gobir.