Tribunal upholds Saraki’s election …… NATION

saraki

The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Ilorin yesterday upheld the election of Dr. Bukola Saraki as the senator representing Kwara Central.

The Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) candidate, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, had challenged the victory of Senate President Saraki of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the tribunal, claiming he won the poll.

Chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice Josiah Majebi, in his two-hour ruling, dismissed the PDP candidate’s petition for lack of merit, competence and substance.

He held that the petitioner failed to prove his case that the March 28 election, which produced Senator Saraki, was characterised by malpractices.

Justice Majebi said the petitioner failed to establish any fact that there were malpractices in wards in Ilorin South, Ilorin East and Asa local governments, adding that the demand for the cancellation of the results was not tenable.

“In accordance with the Electoral Act, any petition to an election must be filed within 21 days. The petitioner failed to file his petition within the period, but instead filed outside the scheduled time. Thus, the petition lacks merit that can warrant the cancellation of the poll,” the tribunal said.

Justice Majebi said the evidence raised by the petitioner that the election did not comply with the Electoral Act could not be substantiated, adding that the evidence tendered before the tribunal were hearsay and should not be admissible as true evidence that could negate the election of the respondent.

He held that the petitioner failed to establish the expert oral evidence on the forensic analysis, adding that it could not be admitted as a factor to cancel the election.

The chairman hailed the parties for their comportment and understanding.

One of Senator Saraki’s lawyers, Mr. Kehinde Eleja (SAN), said the ruling “is an erudite delivery.”

He said: “What happened is not a surprise to us, as we looked at the processes filed and felt the tribunal’s position is right.”

Counsel to the petitioner, John Oshiagala, said: “We have done our best, but God gives power to those He wishes.”

The state APC hailed the judgment, describing it as an affirmation of the mandate given to the Senate president by the people of Kwara Central.