•Verdict confirms will of the people —Gov
From Ibrahim Sidi Muh’d, Gusau with agency report
The Zamfara Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Monday dismissed the petition filed against the state governor, Dauda Lawal by the All Progressive Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Bello Matawalle.
This is as Governor Lawal said that the election tribunal verdict has confirmed that he was the choice of the people of Zamfara State.
The Tribunal Chairperson, Justice Cordelia Ogadi, who led two other members, dismissed the petition for lack of merit and inability of the petitioners to prove their case as required by law.
The tribunal held that the petitioners also failed to prove allegation of irregularities during the polls and awarded N500,000 cost to be paid by the petitioners to each of the three respondents.
The respondents to the petition are; Lawal, his party, Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Matawalle, the immediate past governor of the state and his party, APC had filed the petition against the respondents contending that the governorship election was marred with irregularities and Lawal did not score majority of lawful votes.
Delivering the lead judgment, Justice Ogadi held that the petitioners were unable to prove allegations of over voting and other malpractices, stressing that the burden of proof was solely on the petitioners.
She said that the petitioners were also unable to prove allegations of substantial non-compliance of the poll to the provisions of the electoral act that would affect the overall outcome of its result.
According to her, all the arguments were considered and the case decided based on the constitutional requirements as well as the provisions of the electoral laws.
She therefore dismissed the petition for lack of merit and awarded the cost against the petitioners.
The petitioners had alleged that the March 18 governorship election was flawed with irregularities and sought the tribunal’s order nullifying the return of Lawal as winner of the poll by INEC.
They also sought the order of the court declaring Matawalle winner of the said election on the ground that he scored the majority of the lawful votes.
The petitioners prayed the Tribunal to mandate INEC to issue Matawalle Certificate of Return and further orders necessary.
Meanwhile, Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara state has said that the election tribunal verdict by the Sokoto gubernatorial elections petition tribunal has confirmed that he was the choice of the people of Zamfara State.
Speaking shortly after the verdict, Governor Lawal described the affirmation of his election victory as a confirmation of the will of the good people of the state.
Governor Dauda Lawal emerged victorious in the March Governorship election by defeating the incumbent with a decisive victory as declared by the election tribunal in Sokoto on Monday.
Also speaking, the Spokesperson of the victorious Governor, Suleiman Bala Idris, said a moment ago, Dauda Lawal was affirmed as the winner of the March 18, 2023, Governorship election by the Zamfara Governorship election tribunal sitting in Sokoto.
“The judgement was not surprising but rather an affirmation of the collective decision made by the unwavering people of Zamfara.
“Governor Dauda Lawal emerged victorious in the governorship election with an impressive margin of 65,750 votes.
“Let it be known that this victory belongs to all the people of Zamfara, not just the Governor and his party.
“The judgement would encourage Governor Lawal to continue with his resolve to fulfil his mandate and work tirelessly to ensure that the people of Zamfara State experience the benefits of good governance.”