The Adamawa State Election Petitions Tribunal has dismissed the petition against Governor Ahamadu Fintiri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the election filed by Aishatu Dahiru Binani of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Chairman of the three-member panel headed by Justice Theodora Obi Uloho in the unanimous judgement said the petitioner failed to establish the allegation of non- compliance with the Electoral Act and prove the case with cogent, credible and satisfactory evidence.
“All the documents tendered by the petitioners were dumped on the tribunal and their star witness did not demonstrate any of the documents to link it with any of their material allegations in the petition,” she said.
She said the court is an adjudicator and not an investigator, adding that all the witnesses of the petitioners based their evidence on hearsay and failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.
She added that the declaration of Binani as winner of the poll by the suspended REC, Barr. Hudu Ari Yunusa, was null and void and that the former REC acted recklessly because it was not his function to collate, announce and declare winner of the election.
She said Yunusa played role of supervision and administration, while it’s the Returning Officer that was empowered by law to collate, announce and declare the winner of elections. She noted that the petitioners also failed to prove beyond allegation of over-voting and non accreditation of voters, and that the petitioners ought to tender BVAs used in conducting election across all polling units.
The petition marked No. EPT/AD/GOV/1/2023, Binani and APC joined the Independent National Electoral Commission,Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and the PDP as 1st to 3rd respondents respectively.
Binani and APC jointly filed the petition on May 6, 2023, alleging that the election conducted on March 18, 2023 and 15th to 18 April, 2023 was marred by thuggery, ballot papers and BVAs snatching, harassment of electoral officers and several other offences.
According to them, the election was violated by substantial non-compliance with and breaches of the mandatory statutory requirements of the Electoral Act and regulations made thereunder, which substantially affected the validity of the election that none of the candidates can be validly returned as having won the election.
The petitioners averred that Fintiri’s election was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, arguing that Fintiri was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast during the election.
Binani asked the tribunal to declare her validly elected and returned as winner of the exercise, and also prayed for an order of the tribunal directing INEC to issue her with certificate of return as the duly elected governor of the state.
Equally, she sought an order declaring null and void the certificate of return issued to Governor Fintiri by the electoral umpire, and alternatively order INEC to conduct fresh governorship election in the state.
Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri denied all the allegations as contained in the petition, saying the election was conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act 2023
He told the tribunal that the election was credible, free, fair and transparent and in total compliance with the Electoral Act and urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition in its entirety for lacking in merit and being incompetent.
Reacting, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri described the tribunal’s verdict as triumph of reality over fiction, as justice was proportionately served to all parties involved in the litigation.
Reacting to the judgement in Yola yesterday, Fintiri said the verdict was in favour of popular will and reaffirmed that the truth is sacred.
“Today, we are all witnesses to the triumph of reality over fiction; truth over falsehood and honesty over deceit.
“It has no doubt consumed our productive times and energy, but it has not in any way impugned on our resolve to work for our people and our dear state.
“We have remained undistracted on our mandate and undeterred on the delivery of good governance to Adamawa State,” he said.
He added that the judgement would spur him to rededicate his commitment to the call of the democratic mandate by ensuring the state gets more dividends of democracy.
“Our 8 – Point Agenda is on course and firing with the required speed and precision as the victory for doing more,” he added