The Zamfara State governorship election petitions tribunal sitting in Sokoto yesterday affirmed the election of Dauda Lawal of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as governor of the state.
Accordingly, it dismissed the petition filed by the immediate past governor of the state, Bello Matawalle, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the outcome of the March 18 governorship poll for lack of merit.
The chairman of the three-man panel of Justices led by Justice Cordelia Ogadi who read the lead judgement said the petitioner did not proved allegations of wrongful collation of elections results, exclusion of Maradun local government result, over voting and that election was not conducted in some wards in the state.
The tribunal, in the judgement that lasted over four hours, also said the petitioner failed to prove alleged non-compliance with the Electoral Act and corrupt practices in the conduct of the election.
Justices Ogadi, Bello Hassan and Aliyu Gegele were unanimous in their judgement. The lead counsel to the first respondent, Governor Lawal, Solomon Akunna (SAN) described the judgement as well considered, saying the reasoning was perfect and the consideration of law cannot be impeached.
The lead counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), IShaKa Dikko, said the commission did not expect anything short of the judgement.
The counsel to the petitioner, Usman Sure (SAN), however said his client will give them further instruction to appeal the tribunal verdict because he felt they were robbed by the election results.
Reacting to the judgement, Governor Dauda Lawal described the affirmation of his election victory as a confirmation of the will of the people of Zamfara State.
Lawal, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Sulaiman Idris, in Gusau, noted that the tribunal’s verdict represents the will and decision of the people.
He said, “A moment ago, Dauda Lawal was affirmed as the winner of the March 18, 2023 governorship election by the Zamfara Governorship election tribunal sitting in Sokoto.
“The judgement was not surprising but rather an affirmation of the collective decision made by the unwavering people of Zamfara”.
Meanwhile, In Kano, the state governorship election petitions tribunal will tomorrow deliver judgement in the petition filed by the APC challenging the victory of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).
The tribunal announced the date for the judgment yesterday in a hearing notice sent to parties involved in the matter.
The secretary of the NNPP legal team, Barrister Bashir T Wurzici, who confirmed the date, said the team was served with the notice yesterday evening.
Wurzici said, “We are happy that the day is finally at hand and we are very happy because we know the petition will be dismissed with cost.
“We are hoping the tribunal will follow suit with the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal because the matters are similar”.
On his part, the deputy chairman of the APC in Kano, Shehu Maigari, said they expect the judgment to be in the party’s favour based on the documented evidence they presented to the tribunal.
“We are not afraid of anything because we are confident in the evidential documents we have submitted. So we are optimistic based on what we have submitted,” he said.