By Habibu Harisu
Sokoto, July 10, 2019
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, in Sokoto has adjourned hearing into the case filed by Ahmed Aliyu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate to July 23, for opening of defence by the respondents.
Aliyu is challenging the return of Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as elected governor during the election.
The Tribunal Chairman, Justice Abbas Bawale adjournment sitting on Wednesday after Aliyu and his party led 10 witnesses and tendered exhibits to closed their case.
Lead Counsel of the Petitioners, Dr Alex Izinyon, SAN, told the Tribunal that they were satisfied with the witnesses and the exhibits presented before it.
Izinyon objected to long adjournment sought by Counsel of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Alhassan Umar, who prayed for two weeks adjournment to enable them commence their defence.
The Counsel to Tambuwal and PDP, Mr Eze Duru, SAN and Aare Olumuyiwa-Akinboro, SAN, have respectively aligned themselves with the adjournment submissions.
Justice Bawale adjourned the case to July 23, 2019, for Tambuwal to open his defence.
NAN recalled that Bawale admitted some documents after he granted application by the petitioner’s counsel, who tendered the documents, which he said were vital to the petition.
The documents included copies of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Forms EC8 A and B from Tambuwal, Sokoto South, Tureta, Goronyo, Kebbe, Illela, Wurno and Gada Local Governments.
They also comprised copies of the summary of results for the General and Supplementary elections, as well as two copies of Form EC 40 G for Illela and Kebbe Local Governments.
Others were voters registers of twenty seven polling units and some wards in ten local governments.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the main governorship election held on March 9 was declared inconclusive following cancellation of 75, 403 votes which were higher than the 3, 413 votes margin between the leading candidates.
The re-run was conducted on March 23, and Tambuwal won with a slim margin of 342 votes.
Unsatisfied with the outcome, Aliyu approached the tribunal challenging the return of Tambuwal as the governor-elect, on the grounds that the election was marred with irregularities.