By Peter Amine
The National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal in Jos dismissed a petition contesting the election of Senate Minority Leader Simon Mwadkon (PDP/Plateau North).
Justice Mohammed Mohammed delivered the decision on Thursday, noting that the petition against the Senate Minority Leader was dismissed.
Mr. Gyang Zi, Mwadkon’s Labour Party (LP) opponent in the National Assembly election on February 25th, had taken him to the tribunal, where he contested his victory.
Zi stated in his appeal that Mwadkon was not lawfully nominated by his Peoples Democratic Party since the party lacked a valid structure in the state.
The petitioner further claimed that Mwadkon’s victory was unconstitutional.
But Mohammed stated that the petitioner’s proof and documents were solely pre-election topics that should not be submitted before a tribunal.
According to the presiding judge, the only person competent to challenge a political party’s candidate must be a member of that political party.
“The petitioners are not members of the respondent political party and do not have the ground to challenge the nomination and sponsorship of a candidate.
“I hereby rule that the ground has failed; it is incompetent and is hereby dismissed.
“On the issue of violation of the electoral act, which is the second ground of the petition, the witnesses could not prove that, and as such, the petition failed totally and is hereby dismissed.”
Meanwhile, the tribunal dismissed the complaint contesting the election of Rep. Musa Agah (PDP, Jos North/Bassa) in a separate decision.
Mr. Muhammed Alkali, the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) candidate in the February election, had filed a petition challenging Agah’s victory.
In his decision, Justice Williams Olamide upheld Agah’s election and dismissed Alkali’s petition for lack of merit.
Mr. Pius Akubo (SAN), who represented the two MPs, praised the panel for “gracefully and impartially delivering the two judgements.”
Akubo said, “The lordships painstakingly and commendably dealt with all the issues. It also goes to show that INEC acted in accordance with the law. It shows that INEC did a good job.
Mr. Mohammed Salihu, attorney for the petitioners, stated that the justices did not grasp the essence of the petitioners’ case.
Salihu noted that the essence of the petitioners’ case was not the party primaries but rather a court ruling.