Counsel representing Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lafia, are seeking for the court to dismiss the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), David Ombugadu for lack of merit.
Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), lead counsel to Engineer Sule, sought for the tribunal to quash the petition while adopting his final written address on Monday, on the grounds that the petition lacks merit and substance in every material particular
Citing copiously from court cases to buttress his argument, Olanipekun, while adopting his final written address, asked the court to dismiss the petition challenging the election of Engineer Sule during the March 9 general election because “through out the gamut of their (petitioners) addressees, no mention was made of their relieves.”
The counsel to the first respondent drew the attention of the tribunal to paragraph 5.46 to 5.53 on pages 30 to 33 of the petitioner’s main address, wherein the petitioner addressed the issue of whether or not the relieves being sought are grantable.
“With fairness to the petitioner, he offered no response because the relieves are not grantable,” Olanipekun said.
Citing particularly, INEC vs Musa (2003), wherein the Supreme Court said that a court of law shall not grant the types of relieves which the petitioners sought for, Olanipekun argued that granting such relieves will lead to confusion.
“How will your Lordship grant a relief that election is inconclusive? It will lead to confusion. Granting a relief that there should be supplementary election in unspecified places will lead to confusion,” he told the tribunal.
According to Engineer Sule’s lead counsel, once the tribunal comes to the conclusion that a particular relief was not grantable, “then there will be no need dissipating energy and resources considering other relieves.”
Olanipekun further argued that the petitioners have not been consistent in their arguments, as contained in the petitioners written addresses, as shown in paragraph 4.2 of their address where the petitioners said “the substratum of our petition is that there were perverse cases of voting without accreditation, over voting and non compliance,” whereas in paragraph 4.37 page 27 of the same address, the petitioners now say, “we submit that the non accreditation of voters detailed above, substantially affected the outcome of the election.”
Citing the Supreme Court judgement of 1985 as published in the Nos 3 Nigerian Weekly Law Report Part 12 pg 248 Act 268, lead counsel to the petitioner argued that a court will not grant relief to an oscillating party.
Responding, lead counsel to the petitioner, Mr. Chibuike Nwokeukwu, while also adopting his final written addresses, argued that the case of the petition was that the first respondent was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast.
While arguing that the election that was conducted on March 9 did not comply with the accreditation process, as stipulated in the Electoral Act tendered as evidence, lead counsel to the petitioner sought the court to nullify the election and to order for a fresh election.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Abba Bello-Mohammed adjourned sitting pending the fixing of the date for the judgement to be communicated to both the counsels.
The judge thanked the counsels for the show of maturity and tolerance through out the proceedings.