Election Petition Tribunal Declares APC’s David Umaru Winner of Niger Senatorial Bye Election
The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Minna on Friday upturned the result of the Niger East Senatorial by-election conducted in August 30, 2014 and concluded on September 6, 2014 in favour of Barr. David Umaru of the All Progressives Congress.
The Chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Ibrahim Bako, who gave the verdict in a judgment that lasted for almost four hours in Minna, declared the APC candidate winner having returned 79,779 votes as against Dr. Shem Zagbayi Nuhu of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who had 68,525 votes.
Umaru of APC had on September 26, 2014 petitioned the tribunal, challenging the declaration of Nuhu by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the by-election.
Delivering judgment, Bako ordered as follows: “that an order is hereby granted, nullifying the results of 100 or so polling units out of the polling units that were affected by the non-compliances to the Electoral Act.
“That an order is granted nullifying the return of the 1st Respondent (Nuhu) on the ground that he did not win the majority of the lawful votes cast at the election held on August 30, 2014 and concluded on September 6, 2014 at the Niger East Senatorial district.
“That an order declaring the 1st Petitioner as the winner of the election held on August 30 but concluded on September 6, 2014, having won the majority of the lawful votes at the election and he is hereby granted.
“That an order directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a Certificate of Return to the 1st Petitioner forthwith as the duly elected Senator of Niger East Senatorial district, Niger State.”
The tribunal ordered for the deduction of the scores of votes recorded illegally from the final scores of the parties.
The electoral body had declared on September 7, 2014 that Nuhu of PDP polled 92,050 votes while Umaru had 87,425 votes after the deduction of the unlawful votes, but at the end of the deduction the respondent had 68,525 and the 1st petitioner polled 79,779 votes to be declared winner.
Reacting after the judgment, the lead counsel to the winner, Barr. Chris Osuagwu, commended the verdict and gave the victory to the rule of law and to the tenacity of his client who had faith in the judiciary.
“We give glory to God for this judgment. Today’s judgment has shown that no matter how long evil thrives, judgment must surely prevail.
The tribunal has given judgment and it shows that there is hope for the masses,” Osuagwu stated.
But the counsel to the respondent, Barr. Musa Sulaiman, said that his client will respect the decision of the tribunal.
Congratulating the judiciary for keeping the hope of the common man alive, the Publicity Secretary of APC in Niger State, Jonathan Vatsa, told journalists at the court premises that, “today’s victory has given hope to the masses.
“The judgment has shown that the common man can have his right defended and protected by the judiciary.”