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Niger East bye-election: Zagbayi, INEC lose appeal

An Appeal Court, in Abuja, has struck out the appeal filed by the Niger State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against the ruling of the National Assembly Election Tribunal that declared Barrister David Umaru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the Niger East Senatorial bye-election.

The court has also reserved judgement on the appeal filed by Dr. Nuhu Zagbayi of the PDP, who was removed as the Senator-elect at the bye-election by the tribunal that sat in Minna.

In the appeal that was held on Monday, the PDP and INEC appeals were thrown out by the Court of Appeal Panel, made up of Justice A.D. Yahaya, Justice T. Akomolafe Wilson and Justice J. E. Ekane. for failing to transmit the records of proceedings of the lower court that ruled on the matter.

On the other hand, Zagbayi based his appeal mainly on the issue of dumping of documents before the tribunal arguing that the tribunal erred in law by acting on the dumped documents. He also argued that the petitioner only called 33 witnesses out of 111 polling units during the trial.

Although counsels to the petitioners, led by Barrister Ibrahim Mujaheed, raised preliminary objection to Zagbayi’s appeal, they however argued that the documents presented at the tribunal were not dumped, but presented by witnesses on oath and tendered as exhibits after INEC’s confirmation before the court.

In his remark, the petitioner Barrister David Umaru described the defeat of PDP and INEC at the appeal court as a major victory.

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