Zaura seeks to upturn Hanga’s victory at Tribunal,

The National/State House of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Kano has slated today (Wednesday) for the continuation of the pretrial session, in a petition by Abdussalam Abdulkarim Zaura of APC, challenging the victory of Rufa’i Sani Hanga of New Nigeria People Party (NNPP,)for the Kano Senatorial District election conducted on the 25th February, 23.

It will be recalled that Abdussalam Zaura through his counsel, Ishaka Dikko, (SAN) filed the petition, challenging the conduct of the election as well as the alleged intra-party infractions within the NNPP, between current Senator Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau and Rufa’i Sani Hanga who are all respondents in the suit.

However, Alhaji Zaura is praying for the Tribunal to declare him the winner of the election and set aside the INEC declaration that announced Rufa’i Sani Hanga as the winner of the poll.

He also alleged that the Kano Senatorial District Election was marred by irregularities, malpractices and non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

In their responses, the three respondents, separately denied that the election was marred by irregularities or corrupt practices, thereby placing the Petitioners to the strictest proof to the contrary.

But the INEC, Rufa’i Sani Hanga and NNPP maintained that the election was validly conducted in accordance with the extant laws.

When the petition came up today, Tuesday for the commencement of the pretrial session, counsel to the Petitioner, A. A Zaura, Ishaka Dikko SAN told the court that AA Zaura listed 30 witnesses in totality among which 12 will be subpoenaed by the Tribunal.

Counsel to Rufa’i Sani Hanga and NNPP respectively, Barrister Meshak Ikpe informed the court that his clients will call three witnesses.

While Counsel to the INEC, Barrister Abbas Haladu told the court that during the course of the trial, INEC will defend its case with 2 witnesses, while Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau who is also a respondent in the petition will call only 1 witness in the petition.

Alhaji Zaura told the Tribunal that he needs an interpreter from English Language to Hausa, while all the respondents told the Tribunal that their witnesses don’t need any interpreter.

Consequently, on its part, Counsel to the INEC, Barrister Abbas Haladu moved an application seeking the court to allow INEC to respond to the petition.

In their responses, the Petitioners urged the Tribunal to dismiss the application by INEC arguing that is already out of time.

The Tribunal adjourned its sitting to tomorrow for the continuation of the pretrial session.

However, when the Journalists covering the Tribunal asked the head of the Kano Election Petition Tribunal Registry, Mr Washington Ugwu, the name of the Panel presiding over the Election Petitions in Kano, he said he was instructed from Abuja not to release the name of the judges to any Journalist.


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