The Zamfara governorship election petition tribunal, led by Justice Cordelia Ogadi, along with two other members, has dismissed the petition filed by the All Progressive Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Bello Matawalle, against the state governor, Dauda Lawal. The tribunal ruled that the petition lacked merit and the petitioners failed to provide sufficient evidence to support their case in accordance with the law.
The tribunal also stated that the petitioners were unable to substantiate their claims of irregularities during the elections. As a result, they have been ordered to pay a cost of N500,000 to each of the three respondents, including Mr Lawal, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Mr Matawalle, the immediate past governor of the state and APC, had filed the petition, alleging that the election was marred by irregularities and that Mr Lawal did not receive the majority of lawful votes.
In delivering the lead judgment, Justice Ogadi emphasized that the burden of proof lay solely on the petitioners, who failed to provide evidence of overvoting and other malpractices. She further stated that the petitioners were unable to prove substantial non-compliance with the electoral act that would have affected the overall result.
Considering all arguments and in accordance with constitutional requirements and electoral laws, the tribunal dismissed the petition for lack of merit and imposed costs on the petitioners.
The petitioners sought to nullify the return of Mr Lawal as the winner of the March 18 governorship election, claiming irregularities. They also requested that Mr Matawalle be declared the winner based on the majority of lawful votes. Additionally, the petitioners asked the tribunal to mandate INEC to issue Mr Matawalle a certificate of return and any other necessary orders.