The Yobe State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja has fixed October 21 for judgement in the petition challenging the victory of Governor Ibrahim Gaidam.
Justice Mojisola Baba adjourned the case yesterday after the parties in the case adopted their final written addresses.
The judge, who hinted that the tribunal would relocate to the Appeal Court, Abuja Division for the judgement, however said the venue will be communicated to the parties before the date.
Adamu Maina Waziri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had challenged the election of Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the grounds of “widespread violence and irregularities in the election culminating into non- compliance with electoral laws.”
At the resumed hearing, counsel to Waziri, Niyi Akintola (SAN) urged the tribunal to cancel the election because the petitioner has established the allegation of fraud and irregularities in the April 11 governorship election.
He claimed that the N15m bribe paid into the account of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Abu Zarma by the governor’s Aide-de-Camp Zakari Deba was meant to influence the outcome of the election, maintaining that the REC withdrew from the money.
But defence counsels Abeny Mohammed (SAN), Yusuf Ali (SAN) and Titus Ashaolu (SAN) asked the court to dismiss the petition for failing to establish the allegations of electoral violence and fraud.
While contending that the tribunal lacks the powers to determine criminal allegations, the defence contended that there is nothing to show that the attempted bribery alleged against the REC had any effect on the outcome of the governorship election.
Arguing his application further, Akintola told the tribunal that Exhibit AA44, the EFCC Investigation Report, which the APC counsels want it to take judicial notice of was not signed and does not comply with section 84 of the Evidence Act.
Exhibit E, which the report of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cannot be denied by 3rd and 4th respondents because it’s their documents, it’s INEC document.
“INEC witness was the star witness of the petitioner, he was Administration Secretary of INEC. He stated that the card reader did not capture the exhibits in the six local governments.
“There is evidence that the 5th is not linked to the 1st respondent is not correct. The 5th respondent was the ADC of the 1st defendant. All that was required was that the person was in the employ of the respondent.
“The REC withdraws 600,000 two days after it was paid into his account and gave the name and company where the money was to be paid.
“We urge my lord to grant the prayers of the petitioner. This is not a pre-election matter, it’s a very important allegation,” he said.