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Tribunal Reaffirms Election of Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Mwadkwon of the PDP

The candidate of the Labour Party (LP) for the senatorial seat of Plateau North Senatorial District Barr. Gyang Yaya Zi has lost at the tribunal in his bid to challenge the emergence of Senator Simon Mwadkon as the winner of the election. The judgment was delivered on Thursday 24th August, 2023 at High Court 6, (venue of the tribunal sitting).

Barr. Gyang Yaya Zi had on 19th March, 2023 filed a petition on the election held for Plateau North Senatorial Zone in the suit: EPT/SEN/04/2023; Gyang Yaya Zi and LP, against Simon Mwadkon, PDP and INEC.

The following were among other issues formulated by the tribunal, drawing inspiration from the proposals submitted by parties to the case:

  1. Whether or not the tribunal has jurisdiction to entertain the petition
  2. Whether or not to grant the prayers and reliefs sought by the petitioners in the petition
  3. Whether or not the tribunal has the jurisdiction to entertain ground 1 of the petition (which borders on the structure of a political party)

The tribunal held, among other things as follows:

  1. The petitioners lack locus standi to challenge the nomination and sponsorship of the second respondent (Simon Mwadkon) because they (petitioners) did not take part in the primary election of the third respondent (PDP).
  2. Ground 1 provision of the petitioners’ petition is a pre-election matter.
  3. The provision of the 2010 Electoral Act which provides that party primaries of a political party is both a pre-election and post-election matter does not apply in this case. Only the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 are relevant. Ground 1 is therefore struck out.
  4. The election was conducted in substantial compliance with the extant laws.
  5. Claims of non inclusion of some votes in the election result declared must be supported by necessary documents in evidence. Failure of polling unit agents to appear in court to prove the authenticity of such evidences makes the evidence a hearsay evidence obtained by a third party from an eye witness which is not admissible in law.
  6. The burden of proving non compliance with relevant laws lies strictly on the petitioners failure of which the respondents have nothing to respond to, let alone raise a defense. The petitioners failed to provide evidence to prove that the election was not in substantial compliance to the provisions of the extant laws.

The tribunal therefore dismissed the petition in its entirety for want of merit and consequently declared Simon Mwadkon as the dully elected senator of Plateau North Senatorial Zone with no order as to costs.

The chairman of the tribunal, Hon. Justice Williams Rotimi Olamide agreed with the lead judgement delivered by Hon. Justice Mohamed Mohammed, also dismissed the petition in its entirety and abided by the consequential order delivered by the lead judgement. Justice Emmanuel Nwazunku Nwibe (PhD) also aligned and made no order as to costs.

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