From Gyang Pam, Yola
The 11th day of October, 2019 will ever remain indelible to Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Adamawa State when the Elections Petition Tribunal returned him as duly elected.
Some of us who found ourselves seated in the court room from 8:20am of the said Friday, saw party faithful’s from both sides watched as their supporters appeared restless even though pretending to be calm and not too worried about the impending verdict that was around the corner.
Before the D-Day, opposition supporters had been boasting that the Adamawa State Governor will loose at the Tribunal and that it is either a fresh election is conducted or Muhammadu Umar Jibrilla is returned to his seat.
But all the “shakara” and boasting came to naught after the judgment that lasted for about nine hours.
As the ruling on the election lasted, one could hear a pin drop, what with the emotions, hunger etc in place.
And as the chairman of the three man panel Justice Adebayo Adebara continued with his comments on every point raised by the parties, it was becoming glaring that the Justice was a man who does not wish to give room for mistakes.
He had strongly insisted that, the points raised by the petitions counsel (APC) that Umaru Ahmadu cannot have been the same name as Ahmadu Umaru.
Justice Adebara however ruled against the motion pointing out that, it was the same name and he cited several authorities to buttress his points.
On the issue of the petition, the Tribunal Chairman dealt with the issue very widely pointing out that the Appellants though having the right to appeal failed to join Senator Muhammadu Umaru Jibrilla as an interested party.
According to the tribunal, “you cannot file an appeal in such a case without joining the candidate as an interested party and hope to wing”, and so he dismissed the points raised. He had cited many authorities to buttress his point.
The tribunal equally forward at the petition pointing out that in the petition, the petitioners failed to sign the petition and equally threw that point to the dustbin.
“A candidate wins election not the party considering that someone has been nominated to lead the party and so such a person has to be joined”, it says.
Stressing further on this, the tribunal insisted that despite that the petitioner was competent to file this case, he was however wrong not to join his candidate and so rendered the case incompetent.
On the point raised by the defendants (PDP) that the former Governor already made a concession speech on the grounds that God gives power to whom he so wish and at his own time the tribunal threw this away saying even the AIT official who testified disclosed that was an edited version of the former Governors speech.
“Even the former Chief Press Secretary to the former Governor, Mr. Yohanna Mathias testified that as the media aid to the then governor, I would have been in the know if my boss actually said that; says the Tribunal Chairman. He threw that away.
The tribunal also rejected the testimonies of the petitioners witnesses 1,2,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10 describing them as faulty since they denied being agents of the petitioners in the twelve local government areas where the bye-election in 385 units took place.
According to the tribunal’s observation, the witnesses were not competent to testify since they did not participate in preparing any of the documents but worked on hearsay adding that hearsay evidence is not admissible in law hence the petitioners have failed woefully to press home their points.
The tribunal however praised the efforts of INEC in trying to use the card reader machines but was of the view that INEC should liaise with the National Assembly to enact a law that will make it mandatory for use of the machines.
Says the tribunal chairman, “the card reader can be relevant only if the National Assembly makes it a law but for now, the card reader can only be said to be a compliment.
The APC party had in the petition also said there was over voting in 385 units in 12 local government areas of the state.
The local government’s areas are Lamurde, Numan, Guyuk, Madagali, Hong, Song, Mayo-Belwa, Michika, Demsa, Yola North, Gombi and Jada.
Shortly after ruling on the petition, there was spontaneous reaction by the PDP supporters who started shouting “sai Fintiriya,, sai Fintiriya” etc.