The National and State Assemblies Election Petition Tribunal has upheld the election of Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Nasarawa South senatorial seat held earlier in February.
In a landmark judgment, the tribunal led by Justice David Igoh, on Friday in Lafia, dismissed the petition instituted by Senator Solomon Adokwe of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the election of Senator Al-makura for lacking in merit.
Pronouncing its judgement, the tribunal declared that Adokwe has failed to prove how the Nasarawa South senatorial election held on February 23 this year, was not in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) guidelines for the 2019 general election.
The tribunal averred that the petitioners unlike in a typical petition, where a petitioner challenges results by alleging over voting, non compliance, irregularities, malpractice and the like, Senator Adokwe and his political party were actually supporting the result and asking for their inclusion or ratification of the collation.
“If that is the petitioner’s contention, then they have no business being before this tribunal because it means the scores and results as declared by INEC should remain as they are, as they were declared,” the tribunal ruled.
In its conclusion, the tribunal ruled against the candidate of the PDP stressing that the petitioners have failed to lead credible evidence in support of the petition.
The tribunal further dismissed all the five allegations raised in the petition.
“From whatever angle the petition is looked at, it’s clear the burden of proof of the allegations contained in the petition be they criminal or substantial non compliance, rest squarely with the petitioners,” the tribunal stated.
It further argued that a person seeking to nullify an election must succeed based on the strength of his case as pleaded and not on the weakness of the defence if any.
“We therefore find no merit in this petition. It has no substance, accordingly, we hereby dismiss the petition for lacking in merit,” the tribunal pronounced.