Gombe Tribunal: Petitioners Demand Forensic Examination Of Electoral Materials

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By Kalshingi H Jedidah

court-sessionCounsels to Gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and petitioner in the tribunal suits case of the 2015 general election holding in Gombe have filed a motion insisting on the Tribunal to grant leave for a conduct of forensic examination of electoral material

Counsel to the petitioner Barr Shola Ajayi who’s client submitted petition to the tribunal challenging the outcome of the 2015 gubernatorial election that declared Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner, had during the first sitting if the Tribunal submitted the same motion which was set aside by the Tribunal.

The petitioner which sought to be given access to the data base of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, and recount of votes casted during the gubernatorial election also accused the respondents of failure to comply with some certain provision of the electoral act in filing their different replies.

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But counsel to Governor Dankwambo, Barr Ibrahim Isiyaku SAN  argued that, the complaints filled by the petitioners was only limited to 677 polling units out of the 2168 polling units where votes were casted, and for such, seeking for recount of all the votes casted by the petitioner would only amount to a useless exercise.

He argued further that, carrying out forensic examination of electoral materials as the petitioners demanded would amount to waste of time since there were no allegation of multiple voting, impersonation, or forgery contained in the petition they submitted, even as asking the Tribunal not to grant the applications.

Counsel to the INEC, Barr Hassan Liman SAN also kicked against the motion submitted by the petitioner, stating that, the Tribunal had already received similar application by the petitioner which was not granted, and that it was wrong for the petition to repeat the same application. Arguing that, conducting forensic examination of electoral materials, and recount of votes would mean going into the INEC data base, and taking biometrics of the voters which according to him,  could bridge the constitutional rights of the voters in respect to their secrecy and privacy.

However, the Tribunal headed by Chief Justice Mathew Adewara, having heard all submissions from both parties adjourned  Tribunal sitting to Tuesday 30th of June, with a view to allow more time for counsels prepare documents that would be tendered during the Tribunal hearing.

The governorship election tribunal would also be presiding over ADC versus PDP gubernatorial election suits. The gubernatorial candidate of the ADC Alh Jafar Abubakar had earlier submitted petition before the Tribunal challenging the victory of governor Dankwambo of the PDP during the 2015 gubernatorial election.

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