The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has sacked the Peoples Democratic Party’s Suleiman Wanchiko as the winner of Bida I (North) State Constituency election in Niger State and declared Bako Kasim of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the poll.
The three-member panel, while delivering the judgment through Justice Bature Isa-Gafai, held that Mr Wanchiko’s appeal lacked merit.
The appellate court agreed with Mr Kasim’s counsel, Johnson Usman, SAN, that Mr Wanchiko, having presented a forged testimonial to the Independent National Electoral Commission should be disqualified from contesting the election.
INEC had declared Mr Wanchiko winner of the Assembly election conducted on March 18 with 12, 062 votes as against 11, 820 votes scored by Mr Kasim.
Dissatisfied with the INEC’s declaration, Mr Kasim and the APC, through their counsel, Mr Usman, approached the state’s election petition tribunal via petition number: EPT/NG/SHA/11/2023 between Bako Kasim and another Vs. Suleiman Muhammad Wanchiko and another.
Mr Kasim filed the petition on the grounds that Mr Wanchiko was not qualified to contest the election in that he submitted a forged testimonial to INEC and that the election was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022.
At the end of the trial, the tribunal found merit in the petitioners’ arguments, disqualified Mr Wanchiko, and ordered a re-run without him.
Not satisfied with the tribunal’s judgment, Mr Wanchiko, through his counsel, Aliyu Lemu, SAN, approached the Court of Appeal, praying the court to set aside the tribunal’s decision.
But Mr Kasim’s lawyer urged the court to dismiss the appeal and return his client as the election winner.
The appellate court upheld Mr Usman’s argument that, having disqualified Mr Wanchiko, the proper order was to return Mr Kasim as the winner of the poll and directed INEC to issue him a Certificate of Return.