Joshua Audu-Gana, the member representing the Edati-Lavun-Mokwa federal constituency in Niger in the House of Representatives, says he will appeal the judgment of the election petition tribunal.
Delivering judgment on Monday, a three-member tribunal headed by Sylvester Godspower agreed with the petitioners’ submissions. The tribunal invalidated votes in the 23 polling units of the constituency, thereby reducing the votes of Mr Gana to 46,494 while those of Mr Gbatamagi were reduced to 39,159.
The tribunal ordered a rerun in 23 out of 482 polling units of the constituency, affecting 14,411 PVCs collected in the area. Mr Audu-Gana of the PDP was declared the winner after polling 47,942 votes to defeat Abdullahi Gbatamagi, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, who garnered 40,003 votes.
Mr Audu-Gana said, “While the tribunal has ruled for a rerun in some polling units in my constituency, I remain a member of the House of Representatives until all judicial processes are exhausted.”
“Well, this is not what we expected, but this is democracy, and we remain confident that our time in the House of Representatives is far from over. I understand the exuberance of the media to attract readership. But, it is established that the judicial process does not end at the tribunal,” Mr Audu-Gana explained. “Therefore, I am focused on discharging my legislative responsibility to the good people of the Edati-Lavun-Mokwa federal constituency while also defending the mandate freely and creditably given to me by my constituents at the Court of Appeal.”
The disgruntled legislator added, “I am confident that this judgment by the tribunal will not stand. I urge the good and hardworking people of Edati-Lavun-Mokwa federal constituency to keep the faith and be rest assured that their mandate will not be taken away under any guise.”
But the APC and its candidate, Mr Gbatamagi, lodged a petition at the tribunal through their counsel, Johnson Usman, to challenge Gana’s victory. The petitioners alleged the election was invalid because of non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022.
They added that the margin of win was less than the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collected in the polling units where elections did not hold or were cancelled.