The National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, situated in Yola, Adamawa State, has taken a decisive step by dismissing petitions lodged against two prominent members of the House of Representatives.
On Monday, the tribunal delivered a verdict in favor of Mohammed Salihu, who currently represents Girei/Yola South/Yola North federal constituency, and Jingi Rufai, the esteemed representative for Maiha/Mubi North/Mubi South federal constituency. Both distinguished members belong to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The petitions against them were brought forth by Abubakar Magaji Jaafar and Abubakar Baba Zango, the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Abubakar Baba Zango’s petition centered on allegations against Mohammed Salihu, claiming that he had presented falsified primary school and birth certificates. Zango urged the tribunal to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue him a certificate of return, arguing that he secured the second position in the election.
Abubakar Magaji Jaafar, on the other hand, launched a petition contesting the validity of Jingi Rufai’s election win. Rufai, declared the victor in the election held on February 25, 2023, was challenged by Jaafar for alleged overvoting. The petitioner sought the nullification of INEC’s declaration of Rufai as the winner and demanded the withdrawal of the certificate of return bestowed upon the PDP candidate. Additionally, he requested that the tribunal reinstate him as the duly elected candidate.
In the case of the petition filed by Abubakar Magaji Jaafar, Justice Aloysius Okuma, the tribunal’s chairman, stated that the petitioner failed to present compelling evidence to substantiate his claims. Consequently, the petition was dismissed in its entirety, and the petitioner was directed to pay a sum of N600,000, awarded in favor of Jingi Rufai.
Similarly, in the judgement delivered for Abubakar Baba Zango’s petition against Mohammed Salihu, Justice Nkereuuwem Obot ruled that the petition lacked merit. A penalty of N600,000 was imposed on Zango.
The tribunal’s decision not only upholds the victory of Mohammed Salihu and Jingi Rufai but also emphasizes the importance of credible evidence in such cases. The outcome reaffirms the integrity of the electoral process and the necessity of adhering to legal standards.