· Parties head to appeal
· PDP youths blame Ayu for loss of AMAC
· Abuja natives warn of unrest
The political atmosphere in Abuja is tensed following a judgment by the FCT Election Tribunal which sacked the chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, Christopher Zakka, barely two months after he was sworn into office.
The tribunal in its ruling on Friday, August 5, 2022 said Murtala Usman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, won the elections.
A copy of the judgment sighted by The Abuja Inquirer, directed the INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to the 1st and 2nd Respondent (Zakka), while a new certificate of return be issued to Usman of the APC “having scored the majority of lawful votes cast at the chairmanship election of Abuja Municipal Area Council election of 12 February, 2022.”
The INEC had declared Zakka Maikalangu of the PDP winner with a total of 19,302 votes, while Mr. Usman Karshi secured 13,249 votes.
But the tribunal awarded over 21000 votes to Karshi of the APC, while Hon Maikalangu, maintained his original 19302 votes.
Chairman of the tribunal, Chief Magistrate Muinat Folashade, also directed that the FCT minister, “or any person acting on his behalf to immediately swear in the petitioner as the chairman of the Abuja Municipal Arca Council Election of 12″ February, 2022.”
Shortly after the judgement, APC party supporters besieged premises of AMAC Secretariat jubilating and chanting victory songs asking the incumbent chairman, Christopher Zakka to vacate office.
As news of the removal spread, security was immediately beefed up at the minister’s office in Area 11 to discourage protesters from extending the protest to the secretariat.
Following the tribunal ruling, Hon. Zakka renounced the judgment alleging manipulation and manufacturing of ghost votes against the one announced after the February 12 elections.
A joint statement by the Chief Press Secretary of AMAC, Ephraim Audu, and Senior Special Assistant on Media and Public Affairs, Kingsley Madaki, asked supporters to remain calm as the legal team of the chairman has appealed the judgment.
They explained that the call was against the backdrop of “violent celebrations by APC supporters who flooded parts of the city centre and AMAC secretariat defacing posters of the PDP and barricading entrances of the AMAC secretariat making provocative chants and brandishing dangerous implements in the guise of their tribunal victory.”
The statement described the tribunal judgment as biased and against the will of the people.
It read, “In a shocking arithmetic conundrum conjured in connivance with some government officials, the February 12 election which Hon Christopher Zakka Maikalangu won with 19,302 votes while Mr Usman Karshi secured 13,249 votes is appalling that the table turned at the tribunal allocating over 21,000 votes to Mr Murtala Karshi with the current AMAC Chairman Zakka still maintaining 19,000 votes.
“The judgment appeared to be completely biased and against the will of the people, who came out en-masse in the AMAC chairmanship election on February 12 to vote for the candidate of their choice.”
The PDP swiftly secured a Stay of Execution on the judgment pending the determination of the appeal filed against the said judgment at the FCT Area Council Election Appeal Tribunal.
Reacting to the tribunal judgment, the APC spokesman in the FCT, Mr. Usman Adaji, applauded the tribunal, describing it is a victory for the judiciary and the residents of the FCT.
Adaji in a telephone interview with our correspondent said the judgement also showed the effectiveness of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, because there was a difference between results declared and the votes recorded by the BVAS.
“So, the introduction of BVAS is a good thing for our electoral process as it will minimise elections malpractices and manipulation of results.”
Reacting to the development, the Concerned PDP League, CPDPL, blamed the national chairman of the party, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, for the huge setback.
Reacting to the news, the PDP group condemned the judgment, asking, how could someone with 13, 249 votes, be granted over 21,000 votes? The transfer of people’s mandates or votes by tribunals and courts must be stopped.
The group leader, Comrade Warmate, said, “it is high time we introduce judicial calculus or arithmetic course in the law department of our universities because, it’s baffling how the tribunal was able to calculate and allocate over seven thousand votes to the APC candidate.
““This has once again exposed Ayu’s inability to protect and preserve PDP’s mandates given to it by the ever good and reliable AMAC and FCT residents in demonstration of their confidence in our great party.”
Comrade Warmate said the buck stops with Ayu and emphasised that “Ayu’s sleeping approach to the handling of party matters is responsible for this bad news that just greeted us as a party,” and asked that he be sacked from office.