Tribunal nullifies election of Joshua Gana of PDP, orders rerun in 20 polling units
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been ordered to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Hon. Joshua Audu Gana, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the winner of the February 25, 2023 National Assembly Election.
The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal also set aside the election of the respondent and ordered a rerun in about 23 polling units in the three federal constituencies.
It will be recalled that Joshua Gana was declared the winner of the February 25 National Assembly Election to represent Edati, Lavun, and Mokwa Federal Constituency.
The Chief of Staff to the Governor of Niger State, Usman Abdullahi Gbatamangi of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who contested along with Joshua Gana and lost in the election, had approached the tribunal, requesting that he be returned as the rightful winner of the election.
Gbatamagi claimed that the respondent lost in some of the polling units across the three LGAs of the federal constituency, as the elections in some polling units were characterised by irregularities and other electoral malpractices, and requested that the tribunal declare him the winner.
While reviewing all the submissions of both the counsel to both the petitioner and the respondent, the tribunal expunged some of the evidence and attached all the exhibits related to the conduct of the election in Edati, Lavun, and Mokwa Federal Constituency.
After reviewing all the evidence, exhibits, and witnesses that testified, Justice Mohammed Rashid submitted that the evidence tendered before the tribunal was convincing enough.
He further affirmed that the tribunal was convinced by the testimonies of the counsel to the petitioner and the exhibits, and that the evidence availed to the tribunal was proved beyond every reasonable doubt.
Justice Mohammed Rashid, in an unanimous decision, gave the order that the INEC should immediately withdraw the certificate of return issued to the respondent without further delay.
The judge also ordered the conduct of a rerun in the 23 affected polling units within the next 90 days and equally set aside the election accordingly.