Tribunal upholds election of ex-Niger governor Sani-Bello

The National Assembly election petition tribunal has upheld the election of Abubakar Sani-Bello as Senator representing Niger North Senatorial District.

Justice Angela Otaluka delivered the judgement in Minna on Wednesday.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Sani-Bello of the All Progressive Congress (APC) winner of the election held on Feb. 25.

Mr Sani-Bello, the immediate former governor of Niger, defeated his closest rival Shehu Abdullahi, the senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Mr Abdullahi, however, approached the tribunal challenging the declaration of Mr Sani-Bello as winner, on the premise that the election was marred by irregularities, including multiple voting.

In his petition, Mr Abdullahi prayed the court through his counsel Hussaini Garba, to nullify Mr Sani-Bello’s election and declare him winner, having scored the highest number of valid votes.

In the over three hours judgement, Ms Otaluka said that the tribunal, having reviewed the whole proceedings, ruled that the petitioner had failed in totality to prove the issue of overvoting raised in the petition.

She also said that the petition lacked merit and dismissed it in its entirety.

The tribunal upheld the election of Mr Sani-Bello, and directed the petitioner to give N250,000 as a cost to the respondent.

Similarly, the tribunal has upheld the election of Sen. Peter Ndalikali of the PDP, representing Niger South Senatorial District.

Sen. Mohammed Bima of the APC had filed a petition against Mr Ndalikali’s election, claiming that he scored the highest number of valid votes during the Feb. 25 national assembly election.

Mr Bima prayed the tribunal to nullify the election of Mr Ndalikali and declare him the rightful winner of the election.

Ms Otaluka, while dismissing the petition, declared that the allegations raised by Mr Bima were not substantiated, and dismissed the petition for lack of merit.


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