Supreme Court Rulling on Zamfara State, Hope Rises For Ikpeazu

Dr Okezie Ikpeazu 

The Judgement of Justice John Okoro-led panel of six justices of the Supreme Court which yesterday upheld the election of Zamfara State Governor Mallam Abdullazeez Yari of the All Progressives Congress no doubts has raised the Hope of Abia State Governor Dr Okezie Ikpeazu.

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This assertion is coming based on the grounds the Supreme Court gave its judgement on the Appeal by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Zamfara State Alhaji Mahmud Shinkafi which borders on Over Voting.

Justice John Okoro-led panel had ruled the following on the issue of Over voting

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“The grouse of the appellants in this issue, basically, is that there was over-voting and that because of that there was substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
“To prove over-voting, the law is trite that the petitioner must tender the voters’ register.
“The court must also see the statement of result in the appropriate forms which would show the number of registered accredited voters and number of actual voters,’’ the court said.
Okoro said the appellant must also relate each of the documents to the specific area of the case in respect of which documents were tendered.
He added that the appellant ought to have shown that figures, representing over-voting, if removed, would result in victory for the petitioner.
“From the finding above, I agree with the court below that the appellants failed woefully to prove over-voting in accordance with the principles laid down by law.
“The reliance on the evidence of one of the witnesses through a document he did not make has not made any difference.
“There is no doubt that a petitioner is entitled to contend that an election or return in an election be invalidated by reason of corrupt practice or non-compliance,’’ he said.
Okoro, however, said that for a petitioner to succeed on the ground of corruption, he must prove that corrupt practices or non-compliance actually took place.
He said the appellant must also prove that the alleged infraction substantially affected the result of the election.
“There is need for a petitioner who alleges over-voting to lead concrete evidence to show that there was indeed over-voting and that it benefitted the winner of the contest.
“Without doubt, over-voting in an election can be in favour of the appellant, the respondent or other contestants who participated and lost at the election but are not parties to the petition.
“Therefore, the onus is on the petitioner to show that the over-voting was in favour of the respondent and that it was as a result of the over-voting that Yari won the election,’’ he said.
Okoro said: “in this case, the appellants alleged that there was over-voting by 86,045 votes.
“Assuming that the appellants were able to prove over-voting by that figure, a reduction of that number from the score of the first respondent (Yari) put at 716,964 votes will not make any difference.
“It means that the appellant would attract a total of 201,938 votes which would not have changed the position of the result of the election and that Yari would still be left with 630,919 votes.
“Having resolved all the issues adopted for determination of this appeal against the appellants, it is crystal clear that this appeal is devoid of any scintilla of merit and is accordingly dismissed.. 
It will recalled that Justice Oyebisi Omoleye led five-member Appeal court panel which sat in Owerri had Cancelled the results from Obingwa Osisioma and Isialangwa North LGA’s in Abia State on grounds that there was over-voting and that since the Returning Officer Prof Benjamin Ozumba cancelled the election in those areas it remained cancelled. 
Okezie Ikpeazu has filled an Appeal of the Judgement at the Supreme Court.


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