..Buhari congratulates Kano, Plateau Govs
..EFCC grills four INEC officials over alleged diversion of N84m
THE Governorship Election Petition Tribunal (G.E.P.T) sitting in Kano, Kano State yesterday upheld the victory of Gov. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje in the March 23 gubernatorial election.
Clearing Ganduje from every wrongdoing doing alleged against him by People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, while delivering a four-hour-long judgement, the Justice Mohammed Halima Shamaki-led tribunal stated that the governor’s victory followed due process as provided under the Electoral Act of 2015.
Justice Shamaki therefore dismissed the petition against Ganduje for lacking merit. Similarly, a G.E.P.T sitting in Jos, Plateau State yesterday dismissed the petition filed by the governorship candidate of People’s Democratic Party, Senator Jeremiah Useni against the reelection of Gov. Simon Lalong of All Progressives Congress, ruling that he was validly elected.
In his lead judgement that upheld Lalong’s election, Justice H. A Salesman shot down allegations of over-voting and vote cancellation in some areas as leveled by Useni as well as the PDP candidate’s other claim Lalong was not qualified to contest the election as the certificate which he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission bears a different name other that the APC flag bearer.
Equally, another G.E.P.T sitting in Sokoto, Sokoto State yesterday held that the petition filed by Ahmed Aliyu of All Progressives Congress (APC), challenging the declaration of Gov. Aminu Tambuwal as the winner of the governorship election is valid and proper in law.
The tribunal handed down its verdict while ruling on People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Tambuwal’s objections against the petition by APC and its candidate. Unanimously ruling that the application lacks merit and constituted waste of judicial time, the Justice Abbas Bawale- led tribunal held that Tambuwal’s election was free and fair.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State and Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State on the affirmation of their victories in the March 2019 gubernatorial polls by the respective state Governorship Election Petition Tribunals.
President Buhari, who is travelling with the two victorious All Progressives Congress (APC) party governors to South Africa on a State Visit, extended his goodwill to the duo yesterday shortly before departing Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja in a statement by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
According to him, the verdict of the tribunals on the two governors was a victory for democracy, commending the people of Kano and Plateau States for maintaining the peace, and allowing due process of law to prevail by respecting the role of the judiciary in a democracy.
In a related development, Sokoto Zonal Office of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has arrested four officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the state for an alleged breach of trust and criminal diversion of Ad Hoc staff allowance to the tune of N84, 696,000.
The arrested suspects were Hassan Sidi Aliyu Administrative Secretary, Hussain Jafar Head of Operations, Abdullahi Yusuf Abubakar State Accountant and Abdulmumin Usman all of the Independent National a Electoral Commission, (INEC) in Zamfara state.
The petitioner, one Abdullahi Nasiru, who wrote on behalf of all presiding officers that worked for INEC during the 2019 Presidential and Gubernatorial elections in Zamfara State, alleged that the Adhoc staff were denied payment of their N6,000 movement allowance each for the two elections. The suspects would be arraigned in court when investigation is completed.