The Elections Petition Appeal sitting in Jos, Plateau State capital on Friday upheld the election of Simon Lalong as the duly elected Governor of the state.
In the lead judgement delivered by Honourable Justice Adumein Otisi, the appeal of Jeremiah Useni and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was dismissed for lack of merit and align with the Election Tribunal decision affirming the elections of Governor Simon Lalong.
The sum of N200,000 is also awarded as cost in favour the Governor and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Plateau State Election Tribunal had earlier in October upheld the election victory of Lalong.
Justice Halimat Saleeman, in a unanimous decision of the tribunal threw out the petitioner’s case on the grounds that the petition is weak along the line of law and therefore cannot sway justice to the side of the petitioner.
The election petition tribunal had upheld the election of Ganduje of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the March 24 supplementary election held in some electoral wards in Kano State.
However, in a unanimous judgement delivered on the petition on Friday, a five-man panel of the court led by Justice Tijjani Abubakar dismissed the appeal by the PDP and its governorship candidate, Abba Yusuf.
The court affirmed the October 2nd judgment of the Kano State Governorship Election Tribunal, which had dismissed the petition by PDP and its candidate, challenging Ganduje’s victory at the supplementary election.
It could be recalled that the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal led by Justice Halima Shamaki had in its unanimous judgment on October 2nd, dismissed the petition filed by the PDP and Yusuf on grounds that the petitioners failed to prove their claims that the election was marred by irregularities and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
The tribunal also held that INEC was right in declaring the March 9 election in Kano State inconclusive and also in declaring Ganduje the winner of the supplementary election held on March 23.
The lower court also said that declaring an election as inconclusive where there are lawful reasons is constitutional.
A Court of Appeal has affirmed the election of Mr Abubakar Bello as the duly elected governor of Niger State.
The court gave the affirmation on Saturday in a unanimous judgment delivered by a five-man panel of justices, while ruling on the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the March 9 poll, Umar Nasko.
It held that it lacked the jurisdiction to enter judgment against Mister Bello as the appellants failed to conclude their petition within 180 days, as stipulated by Section 294 Sub-section 2 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, who read the lead judgment, insisted that election matters must be concluded within the 180 days prescribed by law.
The judge held that having failed to do that, the appeal filed by the PDP and its candidate has failed and was subsequently dismissed.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi, on Tuesday upheld the decision of the Election Petitions Tribunal affirming the election of Abdullahi Sule as the governor of Nasarawa State.
In its judgement, the court presided by Justice Jumai Sankey resolved all the five issues raised in the petition brought before it against the appellants, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate, David Ombugadu.
The court held that the appellants were unable to prove their case and thereby affirmed the verdict earlier passed by the Tribunal, which confirmed that Mr Sule was legally and lawfully returned as governor of Nasarawa State.
In his reaction, counsel to the governor, Dr Mubarak Adekunle, hailed the decision of the appellate court.
He said, “The Court of Appeal in Makurdi has just delivered its judgement. The court resolved all the five issues against the appellant.
“The Tribunal stroke out several paragraphs of their reply to Engineer A. A Sule’s reply. They appealed against that and the Court of Appeal affirmed it that the Tribunal was very right to have struck out all those paragraphs.”
“On all the allegations which border on disenfranchisement, cancellation of votes, inflation of votes and deflation of votes, the Court of Appeal affirmed that the Tribunal was right that they were unable to prove their allegations,” he added.
Adekunle added that on whether Governor Sule was fully or properly returned as elected, the appellate court affirmed that the appellants were unable to prove their case, having resolved all the allegations against the appellant.
He noted that the court affirmed the verdict of the Tribunal that “Engineer Sule was legally, lawfully and properly returned as Governor of Nasarawa State.”
Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, on Monday lauded the judgement of the Court of Appeal which affirmed his victory in the March 9 governorship election.
The appellate court in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital had affirmed the election of the governor who contested on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
It upheld the judgement of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which validated Abiodun’s victory and set aside the appeal filed by the candidate of the Allied People’s Movement (APM), Adekunle Akinlade.
In a statement hours after the judgement, Governor Abiodun described the ruling as a victory of truth and democracy while thanking the judiciary for being unbiased in its verdict.
The governor also thanked his legal team for their exemplary professionalism and the All Progressives Congress (APC) for its support.
He also commended party supporters across the 236 wards of the state for conducting themselves in a civilised manner.
Governor Abiodun noted that scores of political parties have joined forces with his administration, saying they would continue to keep open the window of fellowship to others in the interest of the state.
He, therefore, called on those aggrieved as a result of the outcome of the poll to sheath their swords and support his administration, if indeed the motive was to serve the people of the state.
Read the full statement below:
Today’s victory is a triumph of truth and democracy. I give all the glory to the Almighty God, for I remain a testimony to his faithfulness.
We specially thank our team of lawyers led by Professor. Taiwo Osipitan for their exemplary professionalism, diligence and masterful delivery of points of law.
We appreciate the leadership of our great party, All Progressives Congress (APC), for their steadfastness and support.
In addition we wish to express our sincere appreciation to the judiciary once again for playing its role as impartial arbiter with courage, fairness and candour.
We are equally grateful for the solidarity and unwavering support of the APC faithful across the 236 wards of our state and their Omoluwabi conduct throughout this tortuous journey to the land of total victory.
May we also applaud the sincerity of all the other 80 parties that have, even before now, responded positively to our hands of fellowship.
Like true sportsmen and women, they have continued to identify with our government and only last week passed their vote of confidence in us.
We will continue to keep open the window of fellowship to all political actors and indeed all interest groups.
This victory has rekindled our drive to do more in Building Our Future Together agenda and every village, hamlet, town or city will not be left out in the scheme of our inclusive development.
Life is hinged on hope, our administration has restored hope to the people and we shall not relent until every citizen of the state attains individual prosperity whilst ensuring adequate security and putting the state on the path of sustainable development.
Whilst thanking all the good people of Ogun State who have entrusted us with their mandate, again we remain committed to providing a focused and qualitative governance that will be inclusive, participatory, accountable, transparent, fair, just and equitable.
The time has now come for all our adversaries to sheath their swords and join forces with our administration, if indeed the motive is to serve the good people of our dear state.
The common goal is the economic development of Ogun State and individual prosperity of our citizens.
Together, we can build a secure, purposeful and prosperous state.
Let all of us join hands to build a better future and engender unity, peace, development, through good governance that Ogun has witnessed in the last five months of our Administration.
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has commended the judgement of the Court of Appeal which affirmed his victory in the March 9 governorship election in the state.
In a statement on Monday by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, he declared that the mandate given to him by the people of Oyo cannot be taken through the backdoor.
“There is no ambiguity as to the state of things in our pacesetter state, as far as the election of March 9, 2019, is concerned. Our party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the election,” the statement said.
It added, “The victory was reaffirmed by a ruling of the Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Ibadan, the state capital. On Monday, the Court of Appeal, also sitting in Ibadan, delivered its judgement on the appeal by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adebayo Adelabu.
“In its ruling, the Appeal Court refused to grant any of the three key reliefs sought by the APC candidate. The Court refused to nullify the election; it refused to order a fresh election and it also refused to order the retrial of the petition.”
The governor noted that with the above being the reality of the outcome of the appellate court ruling, his election has been reaffirmed.
According to him, nothing in the ruling of the appellate court affects the returns made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and there is nothing that tampers with his mandate
“Governor Makinde, hereby, urges the good people of Oyo State to remain calm and refuse to be provoked by agents of disruption who are seeking to upturn the truth, which remains constant against all odds.
“We also wish to enjoin the people of Oyo State to ignore the doctored reports in some media outlets, which are merely quoting the judgement of the Court of Appeal out of context,” the statement said.
It added that the preference of the people of Oyo was as clear as day and night, with the clear margin of votes between Governor Makinde (515,621) and Mr Adelabu (357,982).
The governor reassured residents that he would not be deterred from taking the state to greater heights through the implementation of his four-point service agenda.
He also insisted that positive governance and unprecedented development would continue to be the portion of the people through his tenure.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan has affirmed the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the state and validated the appeal of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The court of appellate jurisdiction says it disagrees with the tribunal judgement on grounds that the documents submitted were not properly processed while the evidences submitted by the appellant was not adequately evaluated.
It further stated that this however does not give sufficient grounds to tamper with the victory of Seyi Makinde as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Court of Appeal also ordered that status quo before the tribunal’s judgment should remain, which is the return and declaration of Makinde as winner of the March 9,2019 governorship poll in Oyo State.
The court held that if not for time, it would have ordered a re-trial at the tribunal, noting that unfortunately, the time limit of 180 days for tribunal had been exhausted.
The Court of Appeal found that the judgement of the lower tribunal that dismissed Adebayo Adelabu of the APC’s petition against Makinde’s election as the governor was perversed and therefore set the judgement aside.
But the Court of Appeal did not make any further order concerning the election of Seyi Makinde and did not make any order for re- hearing of the election petition, and that the status quo as the time of filing the petition by Adelabu should remain.
Electoral Act allows a grace of 180 days for the petition to be heard at the tribunal, which affirmed that the tribunal duly spent her time and so nothing could be done on their pronouncement as to the validity of the election.
Three of the four-person panel of the Court of Appeal resolved 3 major issues in the favour of the appellants. But there was a dissenting judgment from a judge with a proviso that the panel could not nullify Makinde’s election.
The lead counsel to Makinde, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), told journalists after the delivery of the judgment that the declaration of Makinde as governor “has not been affected in any way. The Court of Appeal in their wisdom said they did not agree with the lower tribunal. They did not also say that they did not agree with INEC. So, INEC’s declaration is sacrosanct and it remains until any other pronouncement from the court.
“We have not seen the details of the judgment. We were all in court and you (journalists) saw that the details were not read to us. As far as we are concerned, there is no cause for alarm.”
Fielding questions from reporters on the implications of the judgment of Governor Makinde, Jegede said: “There is no implication on the return and declaration of Seyi Makinde as the governor of Oyo State.”
Counsel to Adelabu and APC, Adeboye Shobanjo, also told journalists: “You listened to what my lord said about the evaluation of judgment of evidence that when there are evidence before the court, the evidence of all parties before the court should be evaluated. Judgment should not be based only on the evidence of a party in a case and if that was done during the trial, or during the judgment, that is contrary to the provision of the constitution on fair hearing.
“Second, this court settled the issue of dumping of documents on election cases, and contrary to the decision of the tribunal that all the documents tendered by the appellants were dumped on the tribunal. The judgment made it known that the documents were not dumped on the tribunal.
“In totality, the appeal was allowed. But my lord said that because of effusion of time, that since the time for trial has lapsed at the tribunal, they cannot order for retrial of the case.
“But generally or totally, the appeal was allowed. It showed that the judgment of the tribunal occasioned miscarriage of justice against the appellants.”
When asked to comment if Adelabu wnd APC would proceed to the Supreme Court, Shobanjo simply said: “The next step depends on my clients. They will brief us accordingly and it depends on instructions.”
Meanwhile, the APC in Oyo State has reaffirmed its strong belief in the judiciary as the pillar of hope for the sustenance of democracy, saying Adelabu and the party would approach the Supreme Court for final settlement of the litigation.
While reacting to the judgment through a statement issued by its Assistant Publicity Secretary, Prince Ayobami Adejumo, Oyo APC lauded the Appellate Court’s Judges for their pronouncement which validated the claims of the plaintiffs in the matter before it but “regretted that the good people of the state would still have to wait for the final adjudication on the case before our candidate could reclaim his mandate.
“The verdict given on Monday was unambiguous, apt and sound enough to convince any informed mind about the genuineness of our claim that Makinde’s declaration as the winner of the March 9 poll was done by INEC in error. The results announced were ridiculously inflated and there is no way such conspiracy could stand the test of proper scrutiny as this was just confirmed by the Appellate Court
“While we use this opportunity to salute the court for living up to its responsibility as the last hope of the common man, we are appealing to the good people of the state including Oyo APC faithful and other key stakeholders to remain calm and resist being provoked, in whatever way or form, by the PDP government and its agents who are apparently occupying the Agodi Government House on a borrowed time.
“Obviously, the next line of action is for us as a Party and our gubernatorial hopeful to approach the Supreme Court for perfection of the landmark verdict delivered by the Court of Appeal today and, by the special Grace of God, we shall obtain favorable judgment from the Apex Court as only this would lend credence to the fact Nigeria’s democratic practice is premised on free and fair elections as well as the rule of law.”
Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has won the case challenging his election at the Court of Appeal.
This comes as the appeal court sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital affirmed the victory of the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the Ogun State governorship election held on March 9.
The court upheld the judgement of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which validated Abiodun’s victory and set aside the appeal filed by the candidate of the Allied People’s Movement (APM), Adekunle Akinlade.
A four-man appeal panel of justices had on November 4 reserved its ruling on the two appeals after counsels had adopted their written addresses.
At Monday’s sitting, the appellate court upheld the election of Mr Abiodun as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Mohammed Ambi-Usi Danjuma, who stood in for the head of the panel, Justice Abubakar Yahyah.
It dismissed the appeal filed by Mr Akinlade for lack of merit, saying Governor Abiodun won the poll having secured the highest number of lawful votes cast.
Shortly after the judgement was delivered, the APC in Ogun commended the decision of the appellate court through its publicity secretary, Tunde Oladunjoye.
Oladunjoye spoke at a press conference held at the party’s secretariat in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
According to him, the party is extending a hand of fellowship to members of opposition parties to join hands in building the state’s economy.
The APC publicity secretary attributed the victory at the appeal court to God, as well as the support and understanding of the residents of the state.
He called for more cooperation and a better understanding of the Dapo Abiodun administration’s policies and programmes.
Oladunjoye gave assurance that the party would ensure an inclusive government, saying Governor Abiodun would not betray the confidence reposed in him by the people of Ogun.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar, Cross River State has ordered a rerun election in Essien Udim Local Government Area (LGA) of Akwa Ibom State.
Essien Udim is one of the LGAs in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District of the state where Senator Godswill Akpabio of the All Progressives Congress (APC) lost to Senator Christopher Ekpenyong in the February 23 election.
Senator Akpabio, who is currently the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, had gone to the upper court to challenge the ruling of the National and State House of Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Uyo, which affirmed the victory of Senator Ekpenyong of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In its judgement delivered on Saturday, the court declared as invalid, the declaration of Christopher Ekpenyong as the winner of the election and the senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West senatorial district.
It, therefore, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to conduct a fresh election in Essien Udim Local Government Area of the state within 90 days.
The appellate court held that there was proof of irregularities and non-compliance with the Electoral Act in the conduct of the election within Essien Udim LGA and as such, no one should have been declared a winner.
It stressed that the right thing to do was to conduct a fresh election in the disputed area.
The court, however, noted that in Obot Akara LGA, also within the central district, the appellant could not prove the claim of over-voting or irregularities.
The judgement came barely two months after the Tribunal held that Ekpenyong was the duly elected senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
The Tribunal had, in a majority judgement of two out of the three-man panel of justices, dismissed Senator Akpabio’s petition for “lacking merit”.
It held that the petitioner failed to prove that he won the said election, adding that he could not present convincing evidence of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, as raised in his petition.
The Tribunal, therefore, upheld as valid, the declaration of Senator Ekpenyong as the winner of the election.
The Court of Appeal in Lagos has dismissed an appeal filed by the Labour Party (LP) challenging the judgment of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which affirmed the election of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the governor of Lagos State.
In a unanimous decision on Saturday, the five-man panel of justices held that the appeal filed by LP lacked merit and “sank never to rise again, even on appeal.”
The party and its candidate in the March 9 governorship poll, Mr Ifagbemi Awamaridi, had appealed the judgment of Tribunal delivered on September 23.
They insisted that Sanwo-Olu was not qualified to contest the election and that the governor did not win the poll.
The respondents in the appeal included the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Sanwo-Olu, All Progressives Congress (APC), INEC’s Residential Electoral Commissioner in Lagos, Returning Officer for the Lagos State Governorship Election, the Commissioner of Police in Lagos, and the Nigerian Army.
Justice Hannatu Sankey, who read the lead judgement of the panel, however, affirmed the decisions reached by the Tribunal.
According to the court, LP failed to produce any oral or documentary evidence through witnesses and other channels to establish the fact that Sanwo-Olu was not qualified to contest the election or did not win the poll.
It ruled that the petitioner went on a “Columbian journey of making assertions with nothing to back it up,” and thereby dismissed the appeal in its entirety.
Dead On Arrival?
The appellate court also upheld the Tribunal’s decision that no proof of allegation of collusion and assault against officers of the Nigerian Army was provided by the appellants.
It added that no sufficient fact was provided to substantiate the allegation of electoral malpractices at the polling units against the respondents.
“The appeal is lacking in merit and is hereby dismissed. I hereby uphold the judgment of the Lagos State Election Petition Tribunal,” Justice Sankey held.
All the other four justices of the court affirmed and concurred with the lead judgement.
In a related development, the court also dismissed an appeal filed by the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and its governorship candidate, Owolabi Salis, also challenging Governor Sanwo-Olu’s victory.
In a unanimous decision, Justice Ayobode Shodipe, who read the lead judgement, held that the appeal of AD lacked merit and was “dead on arrival.”
“The appeal is seriously lacking in merit and is hereby dismissed. The seven issues of the appellant (Salis) are hereby resolved against him,” Justice Shodipe ruled.
Meanwhile, the appellate court ordered that a cost of N200,000 should be awarded against the appellants in favour of each six of the seven respondents.
The Commissioner of Police in both appeals was, however, exempted while the total cost awarded against the appellants was N2.4 million.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital has affirmed the decision of the National and State House of Assembly’s Election Tribunal, sacking the Deputy Speaker, Christopher Adaji, as the lawmaker representing Ohimini state constituency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The presiding Judge of the three-man panel, Honourable Justice I. G. Mbaba, who delivered the lead judgment in the separate appeals filed by the PDP and Mr Christopher Adaji said the appeals lacked merit.
Justice Mbaba agreed with the decision of the Tribunal that the declaration and return of Adaji by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as winner of the 2019 Ohimini State Constituency election, without rerun in Otega and Ogadagba was invalid by reason of non- compliance with Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
The Appellate Court further held that the findings of the Tribunal have not been appealed.
“I find no merit in this appeal,” Justice Mbaba held and consequently dismissed same.
He, therefore, issued an order directing INEC to conduct fresh election in the two polling units within 90 days from the day of the judgment, as earlier ordered by the Tribunal.
Justice Mbaba further awarded the cost of N200, 000 only in each of the appeals against the appellants as cost.
INEC had returned Adaji winner with a margin of 397 votes, which is less than 1, 056 votes cancelled in the two polling units complained of at the end of the March 9, 2019, Obimini State Constituency election.