The Zamfara State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has affirmed the victory of Bello Matawalle, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party as winner of the 2019 governorship election in the state.
The Advanced People’s Democratic Alliance and its candidate, Muhammed Takori, had challenged the election at the tribunal, stating various irregularities.
However, the tribunal in Abuja on Monday dismissed the petition and fined Takori N500,000 to be paid to Matawalle as cost of litigation
Takori and APDA in the petition prayed the tribunal to nullify the emergency of Matawalle as governor on the grounds that he did not score two-thirds of the votes cast in the local government areas of the state as required by law.
The petitioner also queried the declaration of substantial votes cast on election day as waste.
But delivering judgment in the petition, the tribunal headed by Hon. Justice Binta Zubair, held that the petition was un-meritorious in view of the Supreme Court pronouncement of May 24, 2019.
Zubairu held that by implication, the votes cast for Matawalle and his party are the lawful votes as far as the March 9 governorship election in Zamfara State was concerned.
The tribunal disagreed with the petitioner that Matawalle did not win votes in two-third of the local government areas of Zamfara State, adding that the petitioner wrongly predicated his argument on the votes already declared as waste by the apex court.
Earlier, the tribunal had dismissed Takori’s preliminary objection that the PDP did not conduct any primaries and that Matawalle was not duly sponsored by his party, and therefore was not qualified to contest for the governorship election in the first place.
In dismissing the petitioner’s objection, Zubairu noted that the issue of nomination and sponsorship of a candidate is the sole responsibility of the party and also a pre-election matter of which the tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain.
The apex court had in the judgment delivered by Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, held that votes cast for candidates, who ought not to have participated in an election, are wasted votes that cannot be used in determining outcome of an election.