From Ahmad Mohammed, Bauchi
Bauchi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has fixed Monday 27th May, 2019 as the date for the inaugural and commencement of pre-hearing conference into all the three petitions filed by All Progressive Congress APC, People’s Democratic Movement PDM and Actions People’s Party APP on gubernatorialtitions filed before it.
This was contained in a statement signed and issued Secretary of the Tribunal, Bello Abdullahi, which was distributed to reporters yesterday in Bauchi , He said that three petitions will be heard by the tribunal including those separately filed by three political parties challenging the election of Senator Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the state Governor-elect.
The parties that have so far filed their petitions before the Tribunal are the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) and Action Peoples Party (APP), Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) whose candidates are all chanllenging the declaration of PDP and its candidate, Bala Muhammad Abdulkadir as the winner of the election having polled a total of 515,113 votes to defeat his closest rival who is the outgoing Governor of the state, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar of the the ruling APC who polled a total of 500,325 votes.
According to the petition before the tribunal, all of the three parties are seeking the nullification of the declaration of Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir as the winner of the election as was done by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) due to alleged non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
Leading the petition is that of the the outgoing State Governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar and his party, APC who initially conceded defeat, congratulated the Governor-elect but later turned around and filed a petition at the tribunal alleging wide spread electoral irregularities and saying that rechecks on disputed ballots of Bogoro, Bauchi and Tafawa Balewa LGAs will overturn the results in their favour.
Abubakar also complained about other aspects of the elections including how results in the three LGAs were tallied which culminated in the final scores in forms EC8E which made Bala Muhammed to be declared winner claiming that it was incorrect and therefore want the tribunal to declare him as the winner of the election or order for conduct of a fresh election in the affected areas.
The APP In its petition the APP, alleged that it fielded Alhaji Gumi Umaru and Sani Umaru as governorship and deputy Governorship candidates respectively, but discovered on election day that the two candidates were excluded on the ballot papers explaining that it had initially submitted the name of one Kabiru Isiyaku as its governorship candidate, who later turned down the nomination and was substituted with Gumi, but said the electoral body unlawfully excluded him (Gumi) as its candidate.
The party asked the tribunal to nullify the entire election and order for a fresh one to enable their candidates be accommodated while the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) in its own petition claimed the electoral body excluded names of its candidates and logo of the party in the ballot papers, including other election materials and all other documents used during the governorship election in the State.
The PDM also called for nullification of the entire election seeking for a fresh exercise to enable its candidate, Ahmed Iliyasu, whom it said met all requirements for the election to participate.