The Court of Appeal in Abuja has affirmed the election of Ahmed Aliyu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as governor of Sokoto State.
A three-member panel of justices of the court affirmed Aliyu as the winner of the March 18 governorship election, dismissing the appeal of Saidu Umar, governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had challenged Aliyu’s election victory, claiming that he was not qualified to hold office due to the alleged falsification of certificates. Umar also alleged electoral irregularities and non-compliance with the Electoral Act by the staff of INEC, as well as the governor’s failure to score the majority of lawful votes cast.
However, the governor’s legal team presented evidence showing that Aliyu was educated up to the secondary school level, and the Tribunal dismissed the petition due to the petitioner’s failure to prove their case with credible evidence. Dissatisfied with the judgment, Umar approached the Appeal court for redress.
The court held that the Tribunal was right to say that the PDP subpoenaed witnesses called to present exhibits were incompetent to testify while expunging their evidence.
The appeal court also held that the Tribunal was right to hold that the governor did not present a forged certificate as claimed by the appellants.
However, the presiding justice of the three-man panel of the appeal court, Ita George Mbaba, admitted while reading his verdicts that there are conflicting appellate court judgments on some aspects of the election petition regarding credible evidence tendered in court.
The judge said he was looking up to the Supreme Court for the final determination, and the appeal court is now bound by the Supreme Court’s verdict, which states that all “witness statements on oath must be frontloaded along with a petition.