By Alexandra Oladipo and Toluwanimi Adeeko
The Taraba state governorship tribunal on Friday granted the prayer of All Progressive Congress (APC), seeking to be re- listed in the governorship petition that had earlier been dismissed.
The Tribunal sitting in at the FCT High Court, Apo had on July 10, dismissed the petition filed by Abubakar Danladi of the APC, challenging the re-election of Gov. Darius Ishaku of the PDP in the March 9 governorship election in the state.
While delivering his ruling, the chairman of the three-man tribunal, Justice M.O Adewara held that, the petition filed by the APC (second petitioner), had merit and as such is granted.
He also stated that according to the electoral act, an oral application for withdrawal of the petition made by counsel for the Petitioners, Alex Akoja, was supposed to be properly documented and served on all parties involved in the petition.
Adewara further adjourned hearing in the matter until Aug. 15.
The APC and Danladi had approached the Tribunal, challenging the victory of Gov. Ishaku.
The petitioners had claimed that the governor was not duly elected in the March 9 election by majority of lawful votes cast, adding that Ishaku’s reelection was invalid by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
The dismissal of the petition followed an application made by counsel for the petitioners, Alex Akoja, which was predicated on the July 5 Supreme Court’s judgment which disqualified Danladi as APC candidate in the governorship election.
Arguing the motion earlier, counsel for APC, Ishaka Dikko SAN, informed that the motion seeking to re-list the petition was brought pursuant to Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution as well as Paragraph 29 of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act 2010, as amended.
While saying that APC was not disputing Danladi’s right to have his name struck out of the petition, the senior advocate stated that the withdrawal of the petition had affected the party’s right to proceed with the petition.
Dikko stated that what was very clear was while withdrawing the petition on July 10, there was no formal application by motion as mandatory prescribed by the Electoral Act.
Responding to Danladi’s counter affidavit against the motion, the APC counsel stated that there was no letter from the party authorizing the withdrawal.
He urged the tribunal to discountenance the counter affidavit for the fact that it was filed outside the seven days prescribed for filing a counter affidavit by the Electoral Act.
Arguing against the APC’s motion, counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Solomon Ameh (SAN), stated that the withdrawal of the petition was a matter relating to procedure.