The Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lokoja has dismissed the suit filed by Prince Abubakar Audu, candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in last year’s governorship poll, challenging the return of Captain Idris Wada as governor by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In a two and half hour judgement delivered in Lokoja yesterday, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Suleiman Anbursa declared that the petitioners had failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.
He noted that four matters or grounds were determined by the tribunal; whether the first respondent was qualified to contest the poll; and whether the election complied with the guidelines as stipulated by the electoral act.
Others are whether the petitioner scored the highest votes cast and whether the allegations raised on the conduct of the poll generally affected its outcome.
He said based on the practice direction, the onus lies with the petitioners to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt, adding however that these allegations could not be substantiated.
He explained that the allegations of multiple voting, electoral violence, rigging and inducement of voters by the petitioners were neither here nor there, as the testimonies of the witnesses were contradictory.
Justice Anbursa equally added that whether by oral or documentary the petitioners have failed woefully to prove their allegations and subsequently decided the judgement in favour of the respondents.
He maintained that the petitioners could not also tender another result to show that they won the poll, by bringing forward another result to reverse the one declared by the electoral umpire.
The tribunal chairman declared that based on the facts before them, they had no choice but to agree that the last governorship election substantially complied with the electoral guidelines.