The People’s Democratic party (PDP) in Kebbi has rejected the judgment delivered by the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in the State, which upheld the election of Governor Nasir Idris.
State Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Usman Suru disclosed this on Thursday in Kebbi while reacting to the verdict of the tribunal.
The tribunal had on Thursday struck out the petition filed by PDP and its gubernatorial candidate, retired Maj.-Gen. Aminu Bande and declared Dr Idris of All Progressives Congress (APC) as the duly elected governor of Kebbi.
Suru said: “It is to the knowledge of all that the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Kebbi State has delivered its judgment on our petition challenging eligibility of the governor and his deputy, as well as election malpractice and other irregularities.
“To our dismay, the tribunal through its Chairman, Justice Ofem I Ofem, gave an astonishing judgment with baffling grounds on which it dismissed our case.
“At this point, the PDP as a party and petitioner categorically disagree with the verdict and therefore directed our lawyers to study it and proceed with the process of filing an appeal with immediate effect.”
The chairman enjoined all PDP supporters to remain resolute, firm and law abiding, adding that the party would leave no stone unturned in claiming its stolen mandate.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, Gen. Aminu Bande, had filed a joint suit challenging the election of Idris as governor in the March 15 gubernatorial election and April 18 rerun.
The panel of judges comprised Justice Ofem Ofem, Justice Dauraba Suleiman-Sikkom and Justice Celestina Dafe.
The petitioners alleged that the Deputy Governor, Abubakar Umar-Tafida had submited a fake secondary school testimonial to INEC, while also pointing out the issue of over voting and ineligibility of the governor to contest.
But the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ofem Ofem said on Thursday that the petitions were lacking in merit to warrant cancellation of the election.
In his judgement, Ofem submitted that the petitioners failed to prove beyond doubt that the third respondent (Umar-Tafida) presented a fake certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He noted that the testimonial was duly signed and issued to Umar-Tafida by the then principal of Sultan Abubakar College, Sokoto in 1982 as attested by the authorities concerned.
The judge held that the testimonial was in no way an academic qualification but a certificate of attendance, while quoting section 177 of Electoral Act that provided minimum qualification for governor and deputy governor.
Ofem described the evidences presented by the petitioners as iron cast evidences, adding that Umar-Tafida did not forge his certificate.
On over voting, Ofem said that out of 59 polling units being questioned, irregularities were discovered in nine polling units, resulting in deduction of 1,735 votes from APC while over 900 votes were deducted from PDP.
He insisted that the deduction of votes would not affect the gap between the winner of the election and the runner up.
The chairman disclosed that in other polling units, there were no substantial evidence to prove over voting and irregularities, adding that their votes counted.
Ofem pointed out that the petitioners failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the governor did not retire from state civil service one month before contesting the March 2023 governorship election.
Reacting, Counsel to the petitioners, Nura Bello assured that they would study the judgment and decide on further actions.
Lead Counsel to APC, Abdullahi Yahaya SAN, was satisfied with the judgement of the tribunal, which he rated as a standard judicial process.