From Taofiq Jimoh Adeniyi, Ilorin
Kwara State Election Petition Tribunal on Tuesday nullified the election that produced Hassan Elewu, as the House of Assembly member, representing Ilorin-South State Constituency.
The Tribunal in its judgment also ordered that fresh election should be conducted in the Ilorin-South State Constituency within three months.
News Hub Mag! recalls that in the petition number KW/EPT/HA1/2019, Jimoh Raheem Agboola and his party, PDP, through their counsel, Abdulwahab Bamidele, Esq., A.A. Ibrahim, Esq. and a host of other counsels were the petitioners seeking legal redress on the House of Assembly poll for the Ilorin-South region on the premise that the candidate returned by INEC as the winner of the election was not qualified to contest the said election.
In the judgment delivered by the tribunal and read by Justice Mariya M. Ismaila, the issue of jurisdiction was resolved against the respondents: Sulaiman Shehu Abdulsalam, APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The tribunal on its stance over jurisdiction to entertain the matter, held that it had the prerequisites powers to hear the petition and that it is fortified by the provision of section 138 (1) (a-e) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
On the merit of the petition, Justice Mariya Ismail also resolved the issue against Agboola and the PDP on the basis that they failed to prove the allegation of forgery and deposition to false affidavit raised against the 1st Respondent.
On the question of who was the actual candidate of the APC for the poll between Elewu and Shehu, the Tribunal posited that Shehu’s name is contained in the Election results declared by INEC and a rebuttable presumption existed that Sulaiman Shehu Abdulsalam was the candidate presented by the party (APC). However, the Tribunal further found that since all the Respondents have deposed that Hassan Elewu is the candidate of the APC, the presumption that Sulaiman Shehu Abdulsalam is the candidate of APC has been successfully rebutted.
In the circumstance, the tribunal nullified the poll that was conducted with respect to Ilorin-South state constituency election, ordered INEC to withdraw any Certificate of Return already issued in respect of the said election and ordered fresh election which the tribunal said must be conducted within three months.