Borno:Tribunal reserves judgment in suit challenging Ndume

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The Borno National and State Houses of Assembly elections petition tribunal on Tuesday, reserve judgment in a suit challenging the election of Sen. Mohammed Ndume.

Malam Kudla Satumari and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on March 15, filed a petition with number EPT/BO/SEN/1/2019 before the tribunal.

They are challenging the declaration of Ndume of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as winner of the Borno South Senatorial District conducted on Feb. 23, 2019.

APC and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were also joined in the suit.

Justice Peter Kekemeke, Chairman of the tribunal adjourned for judgment after parties adopted three final written addresses.

He added that parties would be communicated appropriately.

Mr Marcel Oru, counsel for Ndume, submitted that it was of no use to allow the tribunal to go through the voluminous documents brought by the petitioners.

He said that the tribunal is not here to investigate but to adjudicate and no matter how beautiful a final address, it can not stand without evidence.

He therefore urged the tribunal to discountence the petition.

Counsel for APC , Mr Yusuf Ali, SAN urged the tribunal to give the petition a decent burial.

He said out of the 1,305 polling units in the district, the petitioners were challenging 119 units if the results of 119 units were given to them would not poll the desired number of votes.

He said out of the 14 witnesses called none was a polling unit agent none was present at the polling unit and only based their evidence on second hand information.
Ali therefore urged the tribunal to discountence the petitioners petition.

Counsel for INEC Oluwafemi Ademola adopted their final written addresses also.

Mr Phillip Kyelek in his submission urged the tribunal to examine and evaluate the exhibits before it and pass the judgment in the favour of the petitioners.

He said all the issues raised by the Respondents were answered in the final address.

In the petition made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Satumari averred that the election was marred by corrupt practices and non- compliance with provision of the Electoral Act.

He therefore, sought the order of the tribunal for cancellation of the election and for INEC to conduct fresh election for the Senatorial District within 90 days.

Responding, Ndume in his reply to the petition made available to NAN also, denied the allegations in most of the paragraphs of the petition.

In his reply filed on April 10, he argued that the said Borno South Senatorial election was free and fair and not fraught with irregularities and non- compliance with the Electoral Act.

Ndume denied the allegations and averment contained in the petition and demanded the petitioners for strict proof in accordance with the law to the extent of their materiality to the petition.

He therefore, averred to prove during trial that the petition was defective, incompetent for the compliance of the Electoral Act.

Similarly, the petition filed by Mohammed Abdullahi and PDP challenging the election of Aji Kolo Khadi of APC into the State House of Assembly representing, Jere Local Government was also taken.

Parties adopted their final written addresses and judgment also was reserved.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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