The Zamfara Governorship Election Petition Tribunal yesterday dismissed the petition filed against the state governor, Dauda Lawal by the All Progressive Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Bello Matawalle.
The Tribunal Chairperson, Justice Cordelia Ogadi, who led two other members, dismissed the petition for lack of merit and inability of the petitioners to prove their case as required by law.
The tribunal held that the petitioners also failed to prove the allegation of irregularities during the polls and awarded N500,000 cost to be paid by the petitioners to each of the three respondents.
The respondents to the petition are; Lawal, his party, Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Matawalle, the immediate past governor of the state, and his party, APC had filed the petition against the respondents contending that the governorship election was marred with irregularities and Lawal did not score the majority of lawful votes.
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Delivering the lead judgment, Justice Ogadi held that the petitioners were unable to prove allegations of overvoting and other malpractices, stressing that the burden of proof was solely on the petitioners.
She said that the petitioners were also unable to prove allegations of substantial non-compliance of the poll to the provisions of the electoral act that would affect the overall outcome of its result.
According to her, all the arguments were considered and the case was decided based on the constitutional requirements as well as the provisions of the electoral laws.
She, therefore, dismissed the petition for lack of merit and awarded the cost against the petitioners.
The petitioners had alleged that the March 18 governorship election was flawed with irregularities and sought the tribunal’s order nullifying the return of Lawal as the winner of the poll by INEC.
They also sought the order of the court declaring Matawalle the winner of the said election on the ground that he scored the majority of the lawful votes.
The petitioners prayed the Tribunal to mandate INEC to issue Matawalle Certificate of Return and further orders necessary.