“To prove over voting, the law is trite that a petitioner must tender the voters’ register. The Court must also see the statement of results in the appropriate forms which would show the number of registered accredited voters and number of actual voters.” – Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of Nigeria yesterday in Abuja affirmed the election of Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State.
That is not the main gist.
The main gist is that the Apex Court laid down clear principles that must guide the Courts when faced with an election matter where the contention is OVER VOTING.
According to Justice John Okoro who read the lead judgment of the Court yesterday,
“To prove over voting, the law is trite that a petitioner must tender the voters’ register. The Court must also see the statement of results in the appropriate forms which would show the number of registered accredited voters and number of actual voters.
“The petitioner must also relate each of the documents to the specific area of the case in respect of which documents were tendered. The reliance on the evidence of one of the witnesses through a document he did not make has not made any difference.
“A petitioner who also alleges over voting must lead concrete evidence to show that there was indeed over voting and that it benefited the winner of the contest”.
Let me ask my colleagues at the Bar to study this pronouncement by the Supreme Court and relate it to the judgment of the Court of Appeal in the Abia election case.
Recall that the Court of Appeal relied solely on the evidence of two people – PW19 -the INEC Officer that came to tender a document that she wasn’t the maker and then PW 20- Chief Ahamdi Nweke who was the APGA Chief State Collation Officer who testified as to what transpired at the final collation centre. The man was neither at the polling unit and never testified to what happened at the polling unit.
Recall too that APGA did not call one single witness from Obingwa LGA and did not tender any single document concerning Obingwa elections.
Even in the other two local governments of Osisioma and Isiala Ngwa North, APGA did not call any credible witnesses, neither did they tender the voters register to show a discrepancy between the number of actual registered accredited voters and those who actually voted.
By Onyebuchi Ememanka