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Niger: Tribunal affirms election of APC’s Murtala Badaru in Suleja Constituency

The National and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal (NAEPT), sitting in Niger State, has affirmed the election of Murtala Badaru Suleja of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the member representing Suleja Constituency in the March 18, 2023 State House of Assembly polls in the state.

Nasiru Alhassan of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had petitioned the tribunal on three grounds, alleging that the second respondent in the petition was not qualified to contest the election as at the time he contested, he was not duly nominated by the third respondent, and that he was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast.

Alhassan further alleged that the second respondent election was not in compliance with the provisions of the Election Act 2022 and also not in compliance with Section 104 of the Evidence Act, and therefore prayed the tribunal to nullify the election and declare him the rightful winner.

Delivering the tribunal’s ruling, the presiding chairman, Justice Angela Otaluka, stated that the petitioner failed to prove the allegations raised in his petition.

The tribunal noted that all the evidence and witnesses, and exhibits tendered before it could not be substantiated by the petitioner.

Hence, reviewing all the evidence submitted by both counsels to the parties, the three members of the tribunal unanimously agreed that the petitioner had failed to prove his allegations.

Consequently, Justice Angela Otaluka dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.

She then awarded a cost of N300,000 against the petitioner.

The defendant, Murtala Badaru in an interview shortly after the ruling described its outcome as a victory for democracy as well as for the people of Suleja Constituency of the state.