By Saka Bolaji, Minna
The National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal has commenced sitting in Minna with parties adopting pre- trial answers to issues raised by the petitioner, Barrister David Umaru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the declaration of Dr. Shem Nuhu Zagbai of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the senatorial bye-election conducted in Niger East senatorial district by INEC in August and September this year.
The chairman of the tribunal Justice Ibrahim Maikata in an opening remark at its sitting assured parties of fairness and justice and solicited for their maximum support.
He said that the tribunal will avoid unnecessary delays in its proceedings adding that it shall be properly guided by the law.
“I expect the parties to state issues that will assist the tribunal in deciding the case in the interest of fair hearing and justice to all,” he said.
David Umaru represented by Barrister Chris Osuagwu is praying the tribunal to void and nullify the declaration of Dr. Zagbai as winner of the senatorial bye-election conducted to replace late Senator Dahiru Awaisu Kuta.
The APC candidate has also asked the tribunal to declare him as having secured the highest lawful votes cast and winner of the bye-election.
Speaking to journalists on the opening address by the tribunal, counsel to the petitioner, Barrister Osugwu expressed confidence in the competence of the court to do justice in the matter.
He said that he was going to present to the tribunal overwhelming evidence of facts in the case that will bring victory to his client.
He said that he was not intimidated by the large numbers of legal luminaries on parade for the respondents in the case led by Olajide Ayodeji (SAN) for 1st respondent, John Ameh (SAN) for 3rd respondent and Rotimi Ojo for 2nd respondent.