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Niger Assembly: Appeal Court sacks PDP member, declares APC candidate winner

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has sacked Suleiman Wanchiko of the Peoples Democratic Party as the winner of Bida I (North) State Constituency election in Niger and declared Bako Kasim of All Progressives Congress as the winner of the poll.

The three-member panel, while delivering the judgment through Justice Bature Isa-Gafai, held Wanchiko’s appeal was unmeritorious.

The appellate court agreed with Kasim’s counsel, Johnson Usman, SAN, that Wanchiko, having presented a forged testimonial to the Independent National Electoral Commission, ought to be disqualified from contesting the election.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that INEC had declared Wanchiko the winner of the Bida I (North) Constituency poll for the Niger State House of Assembly election conducted on March 18.

The electoral umpire had declared Wanchiko as the winner with 12, 062 votes as against 11, 820 votes scored by Kasim.

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Dissatisfied with INEC’s declaration, Kasim and APC, through their counsel,  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.

Kasim filed the petition on the grounds that Wanchiko was not qualified to contest in the election in that he submitted forged testimonial to INEC and that the election was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022.

At the end of trial, the tribunal found merit in the petitioners’ arguments and disqualified Wanchiko and ordered a re-run without him.

Not satisfied with the judgment of the tribunal, Wanchiko, through his counsel, Aliyu Lemu, SAN, approached the Court of Appeal, praying the court to set aside the decision of the tribunal.

But Kasim’s lawyer urged the court to dismiss the appeal and return his client as the winner of the election.

The appellate court upheld Usman’s argument that Wanchiko, having been disqualified, the proper order was to return Kasim as the winner of the poll and directed INEC to issue him a Certificate of Return.

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