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Tribunal upholds Yakowa’s election

Governorship election tribunal sitting in Kaduna yesterday dismissed the petition brought before it by the Kaduna State governorship candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, Haruna Sa’eed Kajuru against Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and upheld the last April election of Yakowa.

Delivering the judgment in a pin- drop- silence hall, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Garba Kwajafa noted that since the Peoples Democratic Party were not joined in the petition by the petitioners, all allegations concerning them be expunged from the proceedings since they are not party to the case and therefore cannot be called to defend themselves of any allegation.

Kwajafa who intermittently wiped his face of sweat while reading the judgment that lasted for about four hours, overruled the ‘forensic experts’ brought before the tribunal as witnesses, saying that they were not qualified to be called experts because, “They were concerned with mere recounting of votes that does not involve any expertise; it is only the court that can do the recounting if such votes are declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The tribunal also ruled that the documents tendered through the bar by the petitioner’s Counsel, Adebayo Adeniyi (SAN) were merely dumped on the tribunal as he failed to call any witness to substantiate the document who explain what they are meant for.

Citing several decided cases in related circumstance, the tribunal said that it was not the responsibility of the tribunal to analyse the document that were not supported by oral evidence which should have explained what they were. The tribunal noted that neither the Independent National Electoral Commission, polling agents, returning officers and others were called to testify or adopt the document nor they could not form parts of the documents before the tribunal.

He noted that makers of the documents were not called to testify and that there was evidence before the tribunal as to why they were excluded from testifying and therefore concluded that the documents tendered from the bar by counsel to the petitioner has no evidential value as their purpose was not established.
Also citing relevant cases to back up the tribunal’s decision, Justice Kwajafa said that any document admitted and to be considered must be such that have value by virtue of analysis, adding that the court could not proceed to examine the document and therefore should be expunged from the records.

The tribunal also averred that the fact that the petitioners did not plead the document in both their petition and the list of document made admitting and examining the document irrelevant to the case.
The Tribunal also expunged the evidence of the three expert witnesses called by the petitioners and their evidence, pointing out that by the definition of the word expert, the three witnesses did not qualified to be experts in the case as all they were concerned with was the recounting of the votes cast and the declaring of Haruna Saeed as winner of the election.

The tribunal also averred that the evidence tendered by the three witnesses were not pleaded in the petition as part of the documents to be tendered, pointing out that what the petitioner pleaded was to subject the ballot papers to forensic analysis and to tender the forensic analyses and chart. Justice Kwajafa noted that Counsels are bound by their pleading and would not allow what was not pleaded as it would amount to over burdening the opponent, adding that since the petitioners pleaded forensic and hand writing analysis, they could not tender any other document and therefore ordered that the documents be discarded as they lacked evidential value.

The tribunal therefore dismissed the petition and upheld the election of Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa as the governor of Kaduna State.


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Posted by on Oct 13 2011. Filed under Headlines, Kaduna, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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