Tuesday, October 13, 2015 5:44 pm
The Rivers Legislative Elections Petitions Tribunal on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by Sen. Magnus Abe of APC against the election of Sen. Ulaka Nwogu (PDP- Rivers Southeast).
Yesterday, the tribunal headed by Justice Muazu Pindiga, dismissed the petition filed against George Sekibo by the APC and its candidate, Andrew Uchendu, for lacking in merit.
Today, Justice Mohammed Sifawa, said Magnus Abe failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the allegation that election did not hold in the senatorial district.
Sifawa said that rather than proving his claims as required by law, the petitioner went “astray blowing hot and cold at the same time. On one side, the petitioner alleged that there was no election at all and on another side, the petitioner tendered INEC documents that were used for the election which he had claimed was not conducted,’’ he said.
The tribunal also held that the petitioner failed to call witnesses from each of the over 1,000 polling units in the senatorial district.
“ In this kind of petition, the onus of proof is substantially on the petitioner and any failure to discharge this onus automatically renders the petition useless. While the sole case of the petitioner was that there was no election in the district, his witnesses, however, adduced evidences to the fact that there were cases of ballot paper snatching by thugs.
“The testimonies of the witnesses are a clear departure from the case of the petitioner. In view of the failure of the petitioner to discharge the burden of proving his allegation, this tribunal is left with no option than to dismiss the petition.
“The petition is hereby dismissed for lacking in merit. I uphold the declaration of the second respondent as the duly elected senator in the election conducted by the first respondent,’’ Sifawa held.
Reacting to the judgment, Abe said he would challenge the tribunal`s judgment at the Court of Appeal.
He said that the tribunal was not fair to him and said he was given only five days to present all his witnesses from over 1,000 polling units. (