At the sitting of the Niger State Governorship Election Tribunal today, where Alhaji Umar Nasko and the PDP are contesting the victory of the Incumbent governor of the Niger state- Gov. Sani Bello of the APC, Parties Adopted their final addresses, and Judgement was thereafter reserved.
The 1st Respondent- Gov. Sani Bello of Niger State, represented by Ojonimi S. Apeh Esq. from the Law Firm of J.S. Okutepa SAN, Adopted his final address and reply on points of law to the Petitioners final Address. By way of Adumbration, Ojonimi stated that assuming, but without conceding that the documents alleged to be false are indeed false, it cannot nullify the Electoral process, pursuant to S. 177, 182 & 187 of the CFRN.
Finally, he stated that the Petitioners do not have a valid final address, having exceeded the number of pages provided for by Paragraph 5 of the 2011 Practice Direction, and urged the Honorable Tribunal to discountenance the purported final address of the Petitioners, and give judgement in favour of the Respondents.
In similar vein, the 2nd and 3rd Respondents- APC and INEC, represented by Yunus Ustaz SAN and Wale Adegbwale SAN respectively, stated that It is in the interest of the public that litigation must end. Referred to exhibits before the Tribunal on a Pre-election matter before the Federal High Court Minna, and Appeal Court Abuja, involving same parties.
On the issue of the discrepancies on the Governor's university certificate, counsel to the 3rd Respondent stated that a certificate only certifies that the holder attended the said institution, and not necessarily that the year of graduation was when it was issued.
Counsel to Umar Mohammed Nasko and the PDP(Petitioners) - Mohammed Ndayako, also adopted his final address. By way of Adumbration, he stated that the consequences of exceeding the limit of final address is provided in Paragraph 5(b) of the 2011 Practice Direction, and it is to the effect that the secretary of the Tribunal will not accept such brief for filing. The secretary having accepted, and the Respondents having responded in their respective replies, it then amounts to a mere irregularity and urged the Tribunal to exercise its discretion in favor of the Petitioners, as no injustice was occasioned by the act.
He cited Kalu v FRN LPELR-47480. He also stated that The 3rd Respondent did not file a reply on points of law and that what was filed was merely a reply to the Petitioner's address, not a reply on points of law.
Finally, Ndayako stated that the petition was brought pursuant to S. 138 of the Electoral Act, contrary to the matter at the Federal High Court which was predicated on s. 31 of the Electoral Act. He urged the Tribunal to discountenance the arguments of the Respondents and enter Judgment in favor of the Petitioners.
Judgement was thereafter Reserved to a date to be communicated later.