Tribunal dismisses petition against Sen. Ndume

The Borno National and State House of Assembly elections petition tribunal sitting in Abuja on Monday, dismissed a petition filed by Malam Kudla Satumari, challenging the election of Sen. Mohammed Ndume.

Satumari and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on March 15, filed a petition with number EPT/BO/SEN/1/2019 before the tribunal.

They are challenging the declaration of Ndume of All Progressive Congress (APC) as winner of the Borno South Senatorial District conducted on Feb. 23, 2019.

APC and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were also joined in the suit.

Delivering judgment, Justice Peter Kekemeke, Chairman of the tribunal, held that the petitioners failed to proof their allegations beyond reasonable doubt.

Kekemeke held that the proof of allegations lay solely on the petitioners, in this instance; the petitioners must provide the register of registered voters to show that the numbers are conflicting with the number of votes cast and counted.

He held that all allegations of electoral malpractice and irregularities must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Kekemeke added that the petitioners did not demonstrate before the court the procedures for accreditation, neither the difference between the numbers of votes shown in the evidence and the alterations made, nor evidence linking to the allegations of malpractice.

“In totality, the petitioners have failed to prove their case in the preponderance of evidence and balance of probability so that they will be entitled for the judgment; neither any case of malpractice was proven beyond reasonable doubt.

“The petition therefore fails and is accordingly dismissed“ he said.

The tribunal further held that there was no proof of evidence in the allegations of neither unlawful votes nor witnesses called to testify that they were disfranchised.

The tribunal added that there are no evidence suggesting that there were alteration and how it affected the results of the election, which of the polling units were altered and what the results were before the alteration.

“No evidence linking the exhibits to the case of the petitioners, the results that were not stamped or signed were not avail to the tribunal.

“The petitioners merely tendered nine sack bags representing the nine Local Government Areas of the District none of them were given evidence linking them to the case in the petitioners demonstration of evidence.

“We went through them, we observed that some names in the register were not indicating that they did not vote, we also did not notice any thumb print infliction we could not go beyond that, the attention of the tribunal was not drawn to what the petitioners wanted demonstrate with the documents “ Kekemeke said.

He added that all the 14 witnesses called by the petitioners none of them was a polling unit agent and their evidence was based on evidence hearsay.

Kekemeke further held that the witnesses agreed during cross- examination that they cannot be in all polling units.

In the petition, Satumari averred that the election was marred by corrupt practices and non- compliance with provision of the Electoral Act.

He therefore, sought the order of the tribunal for cancellation of the election and for INEC to conduct fresh election for the Senatorial District within 90 days.

Responding, Ndume in his reply to the petition made available to NAN also, denied the allegations in most of the paragraphs of the petition.

In his reply filed on April 10, he argued that the said Borno South Senatorial election was free and fair and not fraught with irregularities and non- compliance with the Electoral Act.

Ndume denied the allegations and averment contained in the petition and demanded the petitioners for strict proof in accordance with the law to the extent of their materiality to the petition.

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