The Election Petition Tribunal in Sokoto state, on Tuesday, admitted in evidence two letters on Deputy Governor, Idris Gobir’s, educational qualifications and adjourned sitting until July 19.
Tribunal Chairman, Justice Haruna Mshelia, adjourned the case after the People’s Democratic Party and the 2023 Governorship candidate, Sa’idu Umar, closed their testimonies to prove their petition.
Mshelia adjourned for the All Progressives Congress, Governor Ahmad Aliyu, and Gobir to open their defence.
The exhibits admitted are from the Saboon Birni Local Government Education Authority tendered by Muyiwa Akinboro SAN, the lead Counsel to the PDP, and its 2023 Governorship candidate, Sa’idu Umar.
Akinboro led the state party chairman, Bello Goronyo, who was the last among 32 witnesses lined up to prove the petition at the Tribunal.
In his testimony, Goronyo said he delegated some party members as agents and received reports on election violence and associated frauds which were compiled and submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission and other relevant authorities.
He admitted that some persons were arrested for alleged violence and malpractices, however, could not attest to being prosecuted or not.
The party chairman told the tribunal that he was not aware of any court judgment on Gov. Aliyu and his deputy, Gobir’s eligibility to contest elections.
Akinboro also presented the Head of Operations of INEC in Sokoto, Abdulmumini Usman, who produced some election documents in evidence.
The lead Respondents’ Counsel, Chief Jecob Ochidi, SAN, and that of the APC, Hassan Liman SAN objected to the admissibility of documents and further cross-examined the witnesses.
INEC lead Counsel AbdulAziz Sani, SAN also aligned himself with the submissions of the respondents’ counsel.
It should be noted that Umar and the PDP approached the tribunal seeking the nullification of the March 18, 2023 election that declared Gov. Ahmad Aliyu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his Deputy, Idris Gobir, as winners.
In their petition, the petitioners alleged that the election was flawed, arguing that it did not comply with electoral laws.
They further argued that at the time of the election, the Respondents were not qualified to contest, and therefore, the votes were wrongfully attributed to them.
The petitioners contended that the election became unlawful or wasted votes, null and void.
They prayed to the Tribunal to mandate INEC to issue a new certificate of return to the petitioner as the duly elected Governor of Sokoto State, having scored the majority of the lawful votes cast, or to order another election excluding the Respondents.