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Supreme Court affirms election of 4 governors

The Supreme Court on Monday affirmed the elections of four governors.
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The governors are that of Sokoto, Kano, Plateau and Bauchi States.
In the affirming their elections, the 7-man panel, said all the appeals lacked merit and were consequently struck out.
In the Sokoto’s appeal it was filed by the APC’s candidate, Ahmed Aliyu, against the election of  Aminu Tambuwal.
INEC had declared Tambuwal of the PDP winner of the Sokoto governorship election having won majority of votes cast with a slim margin of barely 300 votes.
The APC candidate in his appeal however claimed that the election was rigged in favour of Tambuwal and urged the court to declare him winner of the Sokoto governorship election.
However, in urging the court to dismiss the appeal the respondents submitted that there was no evidence of subversion of justice by the lower court to warrant the granting of the prayers of the appeallants.
The apex court had earlier also fixed January 20 for judgment in the appeal seeking the sack of Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.
The court fixed the date after taking submissions of counsel in the appeal.
The appeal filed by candidate of the PDP, Abbah Yusuf had approached the Supreme Court to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal which affirmed Ganduje as lawfully elected as governor of Kano State.
The Court of Appeal had in a judgment delivered on November 22 upheld the judgment of the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which upheld the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC’s) declaration of Ganduje as winner of the March 9 governorship election in Kano State.
In arguing the appeal, Yusuf’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo urged the court to nullify the election of Ganduje on the grounds that his victory was based on a purported illegal bye election conducted in 207 polling units.
Awomolo had argued that the State Returning Officer who had conducted the bye election in the affected polling units lacked the legal powers to do so.
He added that the State Returning Officer after declaring the entire results of election in the 44 local government areas of Kano State was wrong to have gone ahead to cancel election in 207 polling units and conducting a bye election thereafter.
Awomolo therefore urged the court to nullify the purported bye election conducted on March 23 in the 207 polling units and declare his client winner based on the results declared by the State Returning Officer on March 11, 2019.
However, the respondents in their various submissions urged the court to dismiss the appeal on grounds that the State Returning Officer did not cancel election of 207 polling units as claimed by the appeallants.
Counsel to INEC, Ahmed Raji (SAN) in his submissions told the apex court that the appellants both at the tribunal and Court of Appeal failed to prove that votes were cancelled in 207 wards
According to Raji, record only showed the inability of the State Returning Officer to collate results of the affected polling units which was occasioned by the action of the appeallants own witness, who in his evidence admitted carting away with ballot boxes of Galma wards belonging to the 207 polling units.
Both lawyers to the APC and Ganduje aligned themselves with Raji and urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking merit.
The panel after listening to submissions of all counsel in the matter announced January 20, 2020 date for judgment.
Ex-governor Mohammed Abukakar had challenged the victory of Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed  at the last 2019 gubernatorial election in the state.
The  ex governor had lost at the tribunal sitting in Bauchi and the Appeal court sitting in Jos.
Not satisfied with the lower Court’s judgment, Abubakar approached the apex court for redress.
Jeremiah Useni of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenged the election of Mr Lalong in the March 9 governorship poll.
Useni prayed the tribunal to declare him winner of the elections, alleging the disparity in the names supplied by Lalong in form CF001.
Useni alleged that the election of Lalong was characterised by  over voting, corrupt practices and non-compliance to electoral law.
At Monday’s proceedings, Supreme Court dismissed all the appeal for unable to prove their cases.

 

Felix Omohomhion, Abuja 

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