The Benue State governorship election petition tribunal has reserved judgement in a petition filed by Mr Emmanuel Jime and the All Progressive Congress (APC) challenging the victory of Governor Samuel Ortom of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The tribunal will fix a date for judgement to be communicated to both parties involved in the case.
Mr Jime and the APC filed the petition on the grounds that Ortom was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes.
The PDP had asked the tribunal to dismiss Jime’s petition and that of his party for lacking in evidential and material value.
PDP’s Counsel and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Chris Uche moved the motion before the tribunal while adopting their final written addresses by parties before the Justice Henry Oluseyi led panel.
The Presidential Election Petitions Panel has commenced its inaugural session.
The tribunal is expected to hear the petition brought by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, against the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, among others.
Some of them include lawyers to the petitioners Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party the Peoples Democratic Party, lawyers to the President and the All Progressive Congress and lawyers to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Also present in court is Peter Obi, who was the Vice-Presidential candidate of the PDP in the general elections.
Chairing the opening session is the President of the Appeal Court, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa.
Also on the panel is the chairman of the Presidential Election Petition Panel, Justice Abdul Aboki, who is sitting at the immediate right side of the president of the appeal court.
Justice Bulkachuwa said that there are over 700 petitions from the just concluded election with Imo State having the highest number with 78 petitions.
According to her, that is why the court has sent six panels to the state.
She said the tribunal will act in strict adherence to the rule of law and the hearing will be on a day to day basis.
The opening is done and it’s time for the call over which is the mention of all the appeals before the tribunal.
The first case is that of the Hope Democratic Party, Ambrose Awuru against President Mohammadu Buhari.
Dantalle told reporters on Monday that the party’s rejection of Justice Coker was because of her alleged affiliation with the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu.
In a petition to the President of the Courts of Appeal, APM and its governorship candidate, Mr Adekunle Akinlade, claimed that they may not get the desired justice with Justice Coker heading the Tribunal.
The APM chairman spoke to reporters barely two months after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declare Mr Dapo Abiodun of the APC as the winner of the governorship election.
Dissatisfied with the outcome of the exercise, Mr Akinlade and his party filed a petition at the Tribunal to challenge the victory of the governor-elect in the poll held on March 9.
The Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal constituted to look into the complaints arising from the September 22 poll has been relocated to Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The Tribunal was moved from the High Court of Justice Complex, Osogbo to FCT High Court sitting in Apo, Abuja.
Secretary of the tribunal, Adamu Aliyu, announced this on Saturday in a statement posted on the notice board within the premises of the High Court of Justice Complex, Osogbo, the state capital.
The statement read, “The general public should be informed that the sitting of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has been relocated from High Court Justice Complex Osogbo to FCT High Court Apo, Abuja.”
The relocation followed a statement by the National Headquarters of the Court of Appeal that the tribunal has not been disbanded as claimed by a political party in the state.
Mr Aliyu also confirmed the development to Channels Television in a telephone interview but did not give any reason for the relocation of the tribunal.
Reacting to the news, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun said they were not informed of the logic behind the relocation of the tribunal to Abuja.
Mr Dele Adeleke, who spoke on behalf of the party, insisted that the geographical location of the tribunal would not prevent Senator Ademola Adeleke from reclaiming his mandate as the governor of the state.
He added that the party’s legal team remained undeterred in the quest to expose the purported electoral frauds that took place during the election.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City has fixed Thursday, March 16 for hearing of the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and counter-appeal by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The suits filed by both parties bother on the issue of the recounting of the ballot papers used in four local government areas for the Edo State governorship election.
The PDP had filed an appeal against the ruling of the Election Petition Tribunal terminating the counting process after the 14 days granted by the tribunal elapsed.
At the commencement of sitting on Tuesday, the APC filed a counter-appeal, stating that the tribunal erred in permitting the counting since the ballot papers were not tendered as exhibits before the court.
Governor Godwin Obaseki has opened his defence at the Edo State election petition tribunal in the ongoing hearing of the petition filed by Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Six witnesses testified at the resumed hearing, saying the election was conducted freely and fairly in line with the Electoral Act.
They added that there were neither agitation nor complaints from anyone, including PDP agents after the results were announced.
The Kogi State governorship election tribunal siting in Abuja has agreed to accept forensic reports as parts of evidence to be tendered by the petitioner during the proceedings.
Ruling on an earlier motion filed by the petitioner, Captain Idris Wada, Justice Halima Mohammed said that the court would accept forensic experts as witnesses and their reports as evidence.
The court also asked all parties to the case to streamline their witnesses so as to enable it give judgement within the expected time frame.
Having ruled on all preliminary objections, the petitioner further proposed to the court that all certified documents from INEC be allowed to be tendered by consent during the proceedings.
Lead counsel to the petitioner, Chris Uche (SAN), said that the decision of the court is important to proving his case, while counsel to INEC, Alex Iziyon, (SAN) insisted that such documents should be verified before they are accepted by the court
Counsel to the first respondent, the Governor of Kogi State, Mr Yahaya Bello, Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN) also maintained that tendering of documents should be based on what the law says and not the views of the parties.
The court has adjourned till March 15 to rule on other pre-hearing matters, including duration for cross-examination of witnesses and whether or not all certified documents from INEC be tendered by consent.
The Akwa Ibom State senatorial election tribunal has upheld the election of Senator Godswill Akpabio as the duly elected senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District in the March 28 senatorial election in Akwa Ibom State.
Justice Goddy Anuichi held that the petitioner, Mr Inibehe Okorie, failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt, the allegations of malpractices at the polls.
According to the judge, the allegation of noncompliance during the elections ought to be proved substantially in all the over 1,300 polling units in the senatorial district but the petitioner only called 17 witnesses.
He said that the petitioner’s witnesses testified based on hearsay, which in law cannot be relied upon to decide a case.
According to the tribunal, once a party has submitted the name of a candidate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), it is deemed to have sponsored the candidate.
As such, the misrepresentation of Senator Akpabio’s candidacy on the nomination form to vie for the Uyo Senatorial District rather than Akwa Ibom North-West is a mere technical error that has no capacity to invalidate the election.
The tribunal ordered the petitioner, Inibehe Okorie, to pay the sum of 30,000 naira each to all the respondents in the suit as cost.
Reacting to the ruling, Okorie vowed to appeal the judgment. He said that the tribunal, by upholding the election of Senator Akpabio, erred in law.
The River State governorship election petition tribunal has struck out the petition filed by the Labour Party in the state, challenging the emergence of Barrister Nyesom Wike as Governor in the April 11 governorship election.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Muazu Pindiga, in his ruling, agreed with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor Nyesom Wike that the petition did not follow laid down procedures.
According to him, the petition was not filed within the time frame stipulated by the Electoral Act.
The tribunal, however, deferred ruling in the suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, challenging the legality of the pre-trial hearing being carried out by the tribunal.
The Labour Party and its governorship candidate in the state, Tonye Princewill,had approached the Rivers State governorship election tribunal sitting in Abuja, challenging the victory of Governor Nyesom Wike at the polls.
A former Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Adekunle Ojo, has stressed the need for the provision of more tribunals, in order to comply efficiently with the 180 days time frame for election petition.
On Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television’s programme, Mr Ojo said the tribunal appointing body must ensure that those appointed had the integrity and credibility to head the tribunals.
He said: “If you flout the law, perhaps your petitions were not brought within 21 days after the election, definitely you are out of it; The law says so. This is not technicality”.
On who should bear the burden of proof on election issues, he said “the law says he who assert must proof”.
However, Mr Ojo expressed his anticipation of complete electronic voting in the next elections, emphasising that it would curb a lot of election malpractices.