The Independent National Electoral Commission in Niger state has been ordered to issue Certificate of Return to Mr David Umaru of the All Progressives Congress as winner of Niger East senatorial bye-election.
Justice Ibrahim Bako, Chairman of the three-man National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, gave the order at the Niger State High Court 7 in Minna on Friday.
INEC had declared Nuhu Zagbayi of the PDP winner of the by-election held in Aug. 2014, contrary to the popular expectation that Umaru had won.
Bako, who read the judgment, said Umaru scored 79,779 votes as against Zagbayi’s 68,525 votes.
Bako said “INEC is hereby directed to issue certificate of return to Umaru as Senator representing Niger East.
“An order is hereby granted nullifying the result of 100 polling units out of the polling units that were affected by non-compliance.
“An order is hereby issued nullifying the return of Zagbayi that he did not win the majority of the votes.
“An order is granted nullifying the return of Zagbayi on the ground that he did not win the majority of the lawful votes cast at the election held on Aug. 30 and concluded on Sept. 6, 2014.
“An order declaring the petitioner as the winner of the election held on the Aug. 30, but concluded on Sept. 6, 2014; having won the majority of lawful votes cast at the election, be and is hereby granted.
“An order directing INEC to issue a Certificate of Return Umaru forthwith as the duly elected senator for Niger East Senatorial District, is hereby granted”, he added.
Mr Chris Osuagwu, counsel to Umaru, told NAN that the victory was just the beginning of good things for the forthcoming general elections.
Osuagwu enjoined APC supporters not to lose hope, adding that the victory recorded in the tribunal was an indication that people were ready for change.
Also, Mr Musa Suleiman, counsel to Zagbayi, said his client would abide by the judgment.
The seat became vacant following the death of the former occupant, Dahiru Awaisu, during an illness.
Meanwhile the PDP, has called on its members to remain calm and committed to winning the forthcoming general elections
Alhaji Hassan Saba, Public Relations Officer of PDP in Niger State said in Minna on Friday that the party was studying the judgment.
“PDP remains the winning party. The judgment will make the party more determined to win the forthcoming general elections across the country.
“We call on our teeming supporters to remain calm. The judgment has further motivated us to work harder to harness established electoral fortunes of the PDP.
“We are not deterred, we have been victorious, and we will always remain committed to sustain our victories in the state since 1999.
“I call on our party faithful to collect their voter cards before the general elections.
“You must your voter cards to elect PDP candidates across all elective positions especially the zone B senatorial candidate”, it added.