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Tribunal upholds the victory of Hon. Tafida

----- Jabayang heads to appeal court

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The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Jalingo,  has upheld the victory of the member representing Jalingo/Yorro / Zing Federal Constituency, House of Representatives, Hon. Sadiq Abbas Tafida of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).


The petitioner, Hon. Innocent Umar Jabayang of Social Democratic Party (SDP), who had earlier challenged the results of the recent concluded bye-election for Jalingo/Yorro/Zing Federal Constituency that brought Hon. Sadiq Abbas Tafida to the green chamber of the National Assembly, failed to establish substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.


The three man tribunal led by Justice Chudi Nwankwo,  reviewed the evidence presented,  that the election was conducted in substantial compliance with the law.


Key Testimonies and Evidence


The tribunal placed significant weight on the testimony of PW17, the Electoral Officer of Jalingo Local Government, who testified that electoral materials were distributed peacefully and that the election was conducted in line with the Electoral Act.


The court found the testimony credible and crucial in establishing that the election procedures were followed correctly.


Sintali Collation Centre Incident


The evidence presented by PW18, concerning alleged threats at the Sintali collation centre, was found lacking. PW18 failed to provide specific details about any threats to her performance of duties, and her statements did not mention any specific locations or individuals involved.


PW18 could not demonstrate that any complaint letter was served to INEC or that such a letter even existed. The tribunal found significant gaps in her testimony and deemed her evidence unreliable.


Documentary Evidence and BVAs


The court also scrutinized the documents and BVAs machines tendered as evidence. The petitioners had dumped BVAs machines without proper accreditation or results.


Upon reviewing the original results from Barade ward polling unit, the tribunal found no evidence of over-voting.


Out of three BVAs machines deployed, only two were brought to court, which further weakened the petitioners’ case.


The tribunal concluded that the petitioners failed to prove any over-voting or non-compliance.


Court’s Conclusions


The tribunal’s judgment underscored the importance of substantial evidence in election petitions.


The court reiterated that it could not compensate for the petitioners’ lack of concrete evidence.


The Election Petition Tribunal’s ruling marks a significant moment in the legal scrutiny of election processes, reinforcing the necessity for petitioners to present substantial and credible evidence to support their claims of electoral malpractice. The tribunal’s meticulous approach ensures the adherence to legal standards and the protection of democratic processes.


The victory is a win for the constituency and the noble ideals of democracy – Sadiq


Hon. Sadiq Abbas Tafida while speaking with newsmen through his representative  Bashir Yakasa, described the verdict of the  tribunal as a victory for the constituency and the noble ideals of democracy.


The federal lawmaker stated that, as he has been doing since his election more than three months ago, the court’s ruling will empower him to do more for his constituents.


Sadiq said the judgment has further energized his belief in the Nigerian judiciary to do that which is right at all times.


The lawmaker urged his followers to show generosity in their triumph and to abstain from actions that would inflame hostilities with the other side.


He reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to always act justly towards everyone, regardless of their various social status.


On his part, the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Hon. Innocent Umar Jabayang  who spoke through his representative Auwal Abdulkarim, expressed disagreement with the ruling of the Election Tribunal and plans to challenge the judgement at the Court of Appeal.


The Tribunal had earlier dismissed the petition filed by Jabayang, citing lack of substantial evidence to support his claims of electoral irregularities.


However, Jabayang’s legal team believes that the Tribunal erred in its ruling and plans to appeal the decision.


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