Tribunal Sacks Two PDP Lawmakers Over Primary School Certificate Forgery
The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Katsina on Sunday nullified two House of Representatives elections won by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates over primary school certificate forgery.
The Tribunal also declared two elections inconclusive and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to conduct a supplementary election in some polling units where elections did not take place during the February 25 election to determine the actual winner.
A three-member panel of the Tribunal, led by Justice O. Ogunfowora, while ruling on the petition filed by Sani Danlami Aliyu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) against the declaration and return of Aminu Ahmadu Chindo of the PDP, held that the Respondent failed to prove that he attended the then-Kofar Soro Primary School.
The petitioner had accused the first respondent (Chindo) of presenting a forged primary school testimonial. He noted that testimony bearing Kofar Soro Primary School, which the Respondent presented to INEC – the 3rd Respondent – was forged, Daily Trust reports.
He asked the Tribunal to declare him as the winner of the election since the 1st Respondent was not qualified to contest for election.
In its ruling, the Tribunal held “the return of the first respondent, Aminu Ahmadu Chindo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as member representing Katsina Central Federal Constituency, Katsina State of the House of Representatives is hereby nullified and set aside.”
The Tribunal also ruled that the first petitioner, Sani Aliyu, was re-elected as a member representing Katsina Central Federal Constituency of the House of Representatives, and ordered INEC to him the certificate of return.
Consequently, the judges awarded a cost of N200,000.00 against the first and second Respondents (PDP and Chindo).
Earnest Obunadike, the lead counsel for Hon. Sani Danlami, explained the decision, saying the petition was premised on section 66(1)(i) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), presentation of a false certificate to INEC is a disqualifying factor for any person vying either as Reps member or a Senator.
The court also nullified the return of the member representing Kankia/Kusada/Ingawa federal constituency, Ismail Dalha of the PDP for forgery of his primary school certificate.
The tribunal ordered INEC to issue a certificate of return to Hon. Abubakar Yahya of the APC who came second in the election with 31,017 votes.
The tribunal had declared as inconclusive the Kankara/Faskari/Sabuwa federal constituency election result, where the APC candidate, Hon. Dalhatu Shehu Tafoki, challenged the victory of Hon. Mohammed Jamilu of the PDP, who was returned by INEC.
The court ordered fresh elections in some polling units and supplementary elections in other polling units of the constituency.
One of the lawyers representing the petitioners, Sagir Tahir, explained that while overvoting was recorded in some polling units, voting did not take place in others.
Hence the court applied the margin of lead principle and ordered supplementary elections so as to ensure that no eligible voter was disenfranchised.
Similarly, the tribunal in Katsina had declared as inconclusive the Batsari/Safana/Danmusa federal constituency election result, where the APC candidate, Ahmed Zakka Abdulkadir challenged the victory of Hon. Iliyasu Abubakar of the PDP, who was returned by INEC.
The court also ordered fresh elections in some polling units and a rerun in other polling units of the constituency.