Friday, March 11, 2016 8:04 pm
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal for Kogi on Friday, dismissed a petition filed before it by the African Democratic Congress (ADC) against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Justice Halima Muhammad, the Chairman of the tribunal, said that the petition was dismissed because ADC failed to meet the requirement of the electoral laws.
ADC, which has Mrs Zainab Usman as its governorship candidate in the Nov. 21, 2015 election is challenging the election of Alhaji Yahaya Bello (1st respondent) as the governor of Kogi.
INEC was joined in the suit as the 2nd respondent.
The chairman said that petition was also dismissed in line with the prayers of the INEC Counsel, Mr Chikezie Ekeocha, who filed a motion before the tribunal.
Ekeocha, in his motion, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition on the basis that the petitioner did not file the pre-hearing papers within the stipulated seven days allowed by the electoral law.
Muhammad cited the provision of Section 18(1) of the 1st Schedule of the 2010 Electoral Act to support the decision of the tribunal.
“Section 18(1) of the 1st Schedule of the 2010 Electoral Act stipulates that ‘’within seven days of the petitioner’s response to the respondent’s reply, the petitioner shall apply for pre-hearing papers which he fails to do’’.
“The petition is hereby abandoned and dismissed against the 1st respondent since the petitioner did not meet up with his responsibility,’’ Muhammad said.
With the dismissal of ADC petition which earlier joined INEC as second respondent, the case is now between Bello and ADC.
The tribunal has reserved ruling on an application in a substantive suit by the ADC seeking the removal of the word “only’’ in one of its documents before the tribunal.
ADC told the tribunal that “only’’ was a ‘’mistake or an oversight’’.
The chairman, however, said that the application by the petitioner to remove ‘’only’’ from its document was not enough to dismiss the petition.
The tribunal was responding to the Counsel to Gov. Bello, Mr Abdullahi Aliyu, who urged the tribunal to dismiss ADC based on its application to remove ‘’only from its document.
The case has been adjourned to March 18 for continuation of pre-hearing.