Monday, May 6, 2019 1:53 pm
The Borno National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Nyanya, on Monday ordered parties in the suit challenging the election of Sen. Mohammed Ndume, to list issues for determination.
Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Feb. 23 National Assembly elections, Malam Kudla Satumari, is challenging the declaration of Ndume, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the Borno South Senatorial District poll.
Also joined as respondents are APC and INEC.
The tribunal headed by Justice Peter Kekemeke gave the order at the continuation of the pre- hearing session on Monday.
Kekemeke ordered that filing of issues for determination should be done on or before May 8.
In addition, he ordered that certified true copies of the petitioners which were pleaded should also be filed.
He adjourned until May 7 for hearing the petitioners’ motion on extension of time to file notice of additional witnesses and other motions by the respondents.
At the resumed hearing, Mrs Bukky Ibrahim, representing the petitioners informed the tribunal that inspection of documents by the respondents had commenced, but yet to be concluded.
Mr Lawrence John, counsel to Ndume informed the tribunal that they are having problems with the inspection of petitioners documents.
He said that the petitioners are not restricting themselves to documents they pleaded in their petition.
Counsel representing APC, Mr Ayo Olarenwaju, informed the court that, though inspection had commenced, it was not true that the respondents conceded to some of the documents.
He therefore suggested that if the petitioners document are certified true copies and had been pleaded, they could be tendered before the tribunal.
INEC was however, not represented.
In the petition dated March 15, with number, EPT/BO/SEN/1/2019 and made available to NAN, Satumari averred that the election was marred by corrupt practices and non-compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act.
He therefore sought the order of the tribunal for cancellation of the election; and for INEC to conduct fresh election for the Senatorial District within 90 days.
Ndume, in his reply to the petition, also made available to NAN, denied most of the allegations in the petition.
In his reply filed on April 10, he averred that the said Borno South Senatorial election was free and fair and not marred by irregularities and non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
He also demanded that the petitioner provide concrete proof, in accordance with the law, the veracity of the petition.
Ndume claimed that he would prove during trial that the petition was defective, incompetent and lacked compliance with the Electoral Act.
The tribunal relocated its sitting from Maiduguri to Abuja, following approval by the President of Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa.