The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Jabi, FCT Abuja on Wednesday struck out the petition brought before it by the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the 2015 general election, Alhaji Abdulraman Abubakar, challenging the election of Senator Isaac Alfa of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Abdulraman, a former Senator, had approached the Tribunal, challenging the rationale behind delisting his party (APC)’s logo from the rerun election held in June 2016.
In the petition filed on behalf of Alhaji Abdulraman and his party, APC, by his counsel, S.P. Aruwa (Esq.), the Petitioner challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for excluding him from the rerun election.
While delivering judgement on the petition, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice C. I. Nwobodo said the tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter, being a pre-election one.
Justice Nwobodo also said the petition lacked merit as, it was not the PDP or its candidate, Alfa, that excluded the APC or its candidate from participating in the rerun election.
It could be recalled that Alhaji Abdulraman Abubakar contested the seat of Senate to represent the people of Kogi East on the platform of APC in March 2015 and won.
His election was however challenged at the tribunal by the PDP and its candidate on the ground that he was not qualified to run as at the time of the election.
Having been disqualified by the tribunal and his election annulled, the Court of Appeal also upheld the decision of the Tribunal, calling for a rerun election, with the exclusion of the APC.
Senator Alfa, the authentic candidate of the PDP, therefore, participated in the rerun election of 2016 and defeated other contestants.
Reacting to the judgement of the Tribunal on Wednesday, the counsel to Senator Alfa, Reuben Egwaba said the ruling was for the best interest of the people of Kogi East.
According to him, the victory at the tribunal was a victory for democracy and the rule of law.
On the current imbroglio between Senator Isaac Alfa and Attai Aidoko at the Senate, the learned counsel urged the people of Kogi East to remain calm as the matter is before the Supreme Court, adding that “no one would pass through the back door to steal the mandate of the people”.
He, therefore, called on the people to remain law abiding and continue to pray for the restoration of Justice and mandate.