YAKOWA SUFFERS FIRST DEFEAT AT ELECTION TRIBUNAL
Kaduna State governor, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa on Thursday suffered a first defeat as the Election Petition Tribunal threw out his application for the dismissal of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC)'s petition against him (Yakowa).
Counsels to Yakowa, Messsrs Joseph B. Daudu, Emmanuel Toro and Yunus Ustaz Usman, all of them Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) have at the last sitting, last Tuesday filed an application before the tribunal asking for the dismissal of the petition on the ground that it was not filed within the specified time and it also lacked merit.
However, ruling on the application at the Thursday's sitting, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice G.A Kwajafar said that, the petitioner had filed a pre hearing notice within the period in question.
He maintained that, there was a pre-hearing information sheet filed on June 24, which considered all answers required, adding that the respondent's argument that the pre-hearing information did not come via a motion was just a mere irregularity, which cannot amount to dismissal of the petition.
Justice Kwajafar noted that the current trend in the judicial system was that the court should not hammer so much on technicalities of provisions, but strives to achieve justice to issue at hand in the interest of fairness to all.
He stated, ' since substantive issues have been complied with, irregularities of the time of filing the petition cannot render it dismissible.'
He therefore dismissed the application of the respondents and ruled that the petition of the petitioner be heard.
Meanwhile, counsel to the first respondent, Yunus Ustaz however moved a fresh application requesting that the tribunal should dismiss the petitioners' petition on the ground that the political party (PDP), which sponsored Yakowa in the election was not joined as a respondent to the petition.
In his response, Counsel to the petitioner, Abdulmalik Abdulazeez said in a case like this, a candidate in an election can independently file a petition and same is applicable to the respondent, arguing that an aggrieved candidate was legally allowed to file a petition against another candidate without necessarily joining the party.
The tribunal has adjourned sitting for further hearing into the respondents' fresh applications.