Danjuma Goje

PDP’s Usman Bello Kumo and seven others argued the elections were marred by substantial irregularities and non-compliance to the Electoral Acts as amended and asked the tribunal to nullify the election and order a fresh vote.

An elections tribunal in Gombe has dismissed a petition challenging the return of Danjuma Goje as senator for Gombe central.

PDP’s Usman Bello Kumo and seven others argued the elections were marred by substantial irregularities and non-compliance to the Electoral Acts as amended and asked the tribunal to nullify the election and order a fresh vote.

The petitioners presented names of 18 Wards with 120,629 voters and what went wrong in those wards, as well as 200 documents which were marked exhibits with four out of the 16 listed witnesses testifying in court.

But tribunal, presided over by Justice Roseline Adamu said the petition was not filed within the stipulated lawful 21 days after the declaration of results when such petitions are supposed to be filed.

The tribunal also held the petitioners failed to prove their case of harassment, non-secrecy of votes, using of dangerous weapons and intimidation among others which they claimed affect their fortunes in the election.

Justice Adamu, Chairman of the Tribunal said the 200 electoral documents produced as evidence and marked as exhibits would have helped the petitioners’ case, but they merely dumped them on the tribunal

“The petitioners acted in error by dumping the documents and expect the tribunal to fish out the issues raised.

“Apart from the poor use of documents, the petitioners could not prove their case,” she said.

She said the allegations remained vague, totally lacking in weight and evidence as well as amounts to mere hearsay.

“It is not only incompetent, it lacks merit,” she said, declared the case null and void and dismissed the petition for lack of merit.

Speaking to news men, the Petitioners’ Counsel, Agebe Odeh said, “We are not happy with the judgment and we have serious disagreement with some of the issues raised, but we will still have to get a copy of the judgment and decide what to do from there.

Odeh said, “Certainly the issue that the petition was not filed within time, we certainly disagree with that.

“There are positions on that already, but until we see the full judgment, we will not be able to say much on that,” he said.

Mr Kanayo Okafor holding the brief of Chris Uche (SAN), Counsel to the respondents said:

“It was an expected well deserved victory because the petition was dead on arrival.

“So at the end of the day, the two documents filed by the petitioner, which is the petition and the replies were declared invalid, null and void and of no effect,” he said.

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