The Court of Appeal sitting in Jos has dismissed the appeal filed by Labour Party [LP] and its governorship candidate in the April 26, 2011 general election in Plateau state, Mrs Pauline Tallen, against the judgment of the Election Petition Tribunal, which affirmed the election of Governor Jonah Jang of the People’s Democratic Party [PDP].
Delivering judgment, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, in her ruling and supported by two other justices of the court say that the court could not go through the ballot papers and the results sheets that were used during the April elections, as it was not on an academic exercise.
She opined that the petitioners could not prove their claims of ballot stuffing, multiple voting, under aged voting and alleged snatching of ballot boxes as that could only be proved through substantial evidence while the electoral officers were the only people that could authenticate the outcome of the election as the result sheets were pasted in each of polling units according to the 2010 electoral Act.
The judge stressed that the court could not allow the appellants to file fresh papers as the application was made out of the 14-days prescribed the Electoral Act, 2010.
Plateau state and Commissioner for Justice, Edward Pwajok, in his reaction commended the efforts of the judiciary in ensuring that justice was done to all irrespective of party affiliation, describing the judgment as victory for the rule of law which indicates that democracy has come to stay in Nigeria and he also urged all parties to close ranks and develop the state.
On his part, special adviser to Governor Jang on media and publicity, Mr Pam Ayuba, said the judgement did not come to him as a surprise as the PDP worked tirelessly for its victory during the election.
Earlier, the Appeal Court had dismissed the appeal filed by the People’s Democratic Party [PDP] candidate for Kantana Constituency in the Plateau State House of Assembly, Mr Audu Babayo against the election of Mr Sadat Garga of the Labour Party.