By Mumini Abdulkareem
The Appeal Court sitting in Ilorin has reserved judgment in the case between the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) in the tussle for the seat of the Patigi constituency in the Kwara State House of Assembly.
The court after adopting all the written addresses of the counsel to both parties thereafter reserved judgment on the case, which it said will be communicated to them at a later date.
The PDP was represented by Barrister John Baiyeshea (SAN) while the APC’s counsel is Oba Magaji AbdulKadir. Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Barrister Ayodeji Akerele was also in court.
The seat became a contentious issue after the state House of Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal, sitting in Ilorin, nullified the election of the lawmaker representing Patigi Constituency, in the Kwara State House of Assembly, Ahmed Adam over alleged irregularities in his names.
The tribunal consequently declared Hon Salihu Yahaya Mohammed of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the bye-election held in March 2020.
Delivering the judgement, Chairman of the Tribunal, Aminat Aliyu, said “Adam’s name on the EC9 form, is different from the one on his primary school certificate, declaration of age, voter card, and in the letter forwarded to the INEC on 15th January, 2019.
The counsel to the PDP candidate, Barrister Ibn Mahmud, said “the judgement reflected the position of law.”
The APC however rejected the ruling of the tribunal and appealed the decision which has since pitched the ruling and opposition parties against one another.
A statement by the state Chairman of the party, Engr Kola Shittu, said “The judiciary should be hailed for standing up for the truth by declaring Hon Salihu Yahaya Mohammed, as winner of the House of Assembly bye election which was held on March 14, 2020, following the indictment of the APC candidate over alleged forgery of his certificate.”
The PDP and its candidate had gone to the tribunal alleging that the APC candidate, Adam, deposed false information in the EC9 form he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
In his reaction to the development, the Publicity Secretary of APC in the state, Folaranmi Aro, said the judgment was based on the difference between “Adam” and “Adama” on the party candidate’s certificate.
He said in a statement that the PDP never called any witness from the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to substantiate its claim that the APC candidate was not the owner of the certificate he tendered for the election.
“The tribunal did not deny that we won the election overwhelmingly. It instead hid under a feeble excuse that the names of our candidate on the two certificates he presented to the electoral body are slightly different from each other to award our mandate to the opposition.
“It was a sad day for democracy as the judgment was a slap on thousands of electorates who stood in the sun to make their choices.
“This judgment is a violent attack on the position of the Supreme Court in many established cases where an alphabet was either omitted or added to a candidate’s name. We are definitely going to appeal the judgment because it signals danger for our democracy and amounted to stealing the mandate of the people. The judgment is a judicial subversion of the people’s mandate”, he added.
By Mumini Abdulkareem