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Race To Govern Katsina Shifts To Tribunal

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The last is yet to be heard about the 2019 governorship election in Katsina State as Governor Aminu Masari’s main challenger; Senator Yakubu Lado raised questions over the governor’s qualification to contest the 2019 governorship.

Lado, who is challenging Masari’s re-election, insisted through his counsel, that the governor lacked requisite educational qualification to run for the coveted seat.

Senator Lado who was the PDP governorship candidate, through his counsel, Goddy Uche, SAN, raised questions over the governor’s academic qualification and age.

According to records of governor Masari’s documentation with INEC which was tendered as exhibit to the election petition tribunal sitting in Katsina by Senator Lado’s counsel, it showed that Masari and his father are 69 years old respectively.

The records indicate that, an affidavit said to have been deposed to by Governor Masari’s father, Umaru Bello showed that while his son was given birth to on 29th May, 1950 which translates to 69 years in 2019, he (the father) was 51 years as at the time of the declaration on 9th August, 2001 which suggests he is exactly 69 years in 2019, same age with his son.

Another issue raised by Senator Lado before the tribunal was the alleged inconsistent dates of birth as shown on the primary school leaving certificate of Governor Masari which differs with that of the sworn declaration of age. While the declaration of age showed that Masari was born in 1950, the primary certificate showed that he was born in 1951.

Similarly, Senator Lado claimed that the same primary certificate in question belongs to one Aminu Bello; a Fulani by tribe while the respondent is known and addressed as Aminu Bello Masari, Hausa by tribe.

In the same vein, Lado questioned a post graduate diploma presented to INEC by Governor Masari, noting that the certificate bears no logo or stamp of the institution, hence questionable.

Addressing journalists after the tribunal sitting in Katsiana, counsel to Senator Lado, Goddy Uche SAN, stated that it was clear from the testimony of the first witness that the Governor Masari is not qualified to govern Katsina State.

“The first respondent who claims his name is now Aminu Bello Masari, the qualification and all the certificates none of them bears the name Aminu Bello Masari.  Those certificates in question, they bear the name Aminu Bello. So there is no basis why he is still there, that is what we are telling the Tribunal.” Mr Uche stated.

On the secondary education which is the minimum requirement for contesting any election in Nigeria, Mr Uche stated that “what he (Governor Masari) has as Secondary School qualification is To Whom It May Concern which is not a certificate” adding that “we have shown all these to the court, they have recorded them and we believe that these things will be used in this case.”

But one of the APC counsels, Ernest Obunadike, in a media report monitored by our correspondent, dismissed the claims of lack of educational qualification saying that Masari is qualified to be governor that is why he contested and won in 2015 where he governed the state in the last four years. He recalled that the governor also served as speaker of the House of Reps.

“We don’t want to join issues with them because this mater is already before the court” he enthused even as he noted, “our client is constitutionally qualified to be the governor of Katsina state.”

The defence counsel vowed to challenge the issues raised as the trial progresses adding that “we prefer to test those issues in the open court”.

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