From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal has commenced sitting on the petition by David Umaru of the All Progressive Congress (APC) challenging the declaration of Shem Nuhu Zagbayi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the senatorial bye-election conducted by INEC in Niger East senatorial district in August and September respectively this year.
The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ibrahim Maikata, in an opening remark at its sitting in Minna yesterday, assured parties of fairness and justice and solicited for their maximum support to ease it proceedings.
He said that the tribunal will avoid unnecessary delays in its proceedings, adding that it shall be properly guided by the law.
“I expect the parties to state issues that will assist the tribunal in deciding the case in the interest of fair hearing and justice to all”, he said.
The APC candidate, David Umaru represented by Barrister Chris Osuagwu, prayed the tribunal to void and nullify the declaration of Shem Zagbayi as winner of the senatorial bye-election conducted to replace late Senator Dahiru Awaisu Kuta.
Umar also asked the tribunal to declare him as having secured the highest lawful votes cast and winner of the bye-election.
Speaking to journalists on the opening addressed by the tribunal, counsel to the petitioner, Barrister Osugwu, expressed confidence in the competence of the court to do justice in the matter.
He noted that he was going to present to the tribunal overwhelming evidence of facts in the case that will bring victory to his client.
He said that he was not intimidated by the large numbers of legal luminaries on parade for the respondents in the case led by Olajide Ayodeji (SAN) for 1st respondent, John Ameh (SAN) for 3rd respondent and Rotimi Ojo for 2nd respondent.