Kaduna - The National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kaduna, on Wednesday, nullified the election of Comfort Amwe of the Peoples’ Democratic Party as member representing Sanga Constituency in the Kaduna State House of Assembly.
The tribunal equally ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Certificate of Return to Haliru Dangana of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who had the second highest vote in the April 11, election.
The case was instituted by Dangana, who urged the tribunal to declare the votes secured by Amwe unlawful, null and void and return him as the winner of the election.
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Dangana hinged his argument on the grounds that Amwe was not a candidate in the election, as she was neither sponsored by the PDP nor had her name published in the list of contestants in the said election by INEC.
Joined in the petition were the PDP and INEC as second and third respondents.
Amwe’s name was not published by INEC in deference to an exparte order issued by Justice M.A Bello, of Kaduna State High Court on December 19, 2014, restraining PDP and INEC from fielding her as a candidate in the election, pending determination of the case.
The court order was issued as a result of the fall out of the PDP primaries.
Counsel for the petitioner, Fred Odigi, asked the tribunal to determine whether Amwe was eligible to contest based on the court order; whether she was a lawful candidate in the election, and if votes allocated to her were lawful.
In his submissions, counsel for the first respondent, Gideon Didam argued that Awme was a lawful candidate in the election and was returned winner by INEC.
Didam argued that the court order which the petitioner hinged his argument on expired seven days after it was issued.
In his judgment, Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Abdulhamid Abdullahi, upheld the petitioners ground that the first respondent was not a lawful candidate in the election.
According to him, since the name of the first respondent was not published in the list of candidates by INEC, it meant that she was not among the contestants.
Abdulahi, therefore directed INEC to issue Dangana a certificate of return as the winner of the April 11, election, with 18,880 votes over Labour Party’s candidate.