- Abba, Useni, Aliyu head to Appeal Court
The governorship election petition tribunals yesterday affirmed the victories of Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Simon Bako Lalong and Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as duly elected governors of Kano, Plateau and Sokoto states respectively.
Our correspondents report that the judgements were delivered in Kano, Jos and Abuja.
In Kano, the tribunal dismissed the petition filed by PDP and its governorship candidate, Abba Kabir Yusuf, thereby upholding the victory of Ganduje of the APC.
The three-man panel, led by Justice Halima Shamaki Muhammad, said the petitioners failed to prove their case substantially.
The tribunal held that INEC acted in line with the provisions of the law by declaring the March 9 election as inconclusive and conducting the March 23 supplementary election.
“The tribunal finds and holds that the state returning officer substantially complied with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 as amended), the Electoral Act (2010 as amended) as well as the regulations and guidelines in relation to the cancellation of polling units results affected by over voting and violence,” Justice Shamaki said.
In his reaction, the state chairman of PDP, Alhaji Rabiu Sulaiman Bichi, said they would appeal the judgement.
“Based on our experience, we will appeal this judgement and I can assure you, we will regain our mandate at the appeal court. But our fear is that the INEC and the courts, may be, and are defining election in this country,” he said.
On his part, the state chairman of APC, Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas, expressed gratitude to God for the victory, saying it was not victory for Ganduje or the party, but a victory for the people of the state as well as a victory for democracy.
Daily Trust observed heavy presence of security within the state metropolis.
Meanwhile, Ganduje has urged people in the state to remain law abiding and take the progress of the state as their top priority to ensure speedy development. The governor spoke through his deputy, Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna.
Similarly in Jos, the Plateau State capital, the governorship election petition tribunal yesterday upheld the election of Governor Lalong of the APC.
In a five-hour judgement, Justice Halima Saleeman, chairman of the tribunal dismissed the petition filed by the PDP and its governorship candidate, Sen. Jeremiah Useni, for failure to prove their case.
Useni, a former FCT minister and the PDP had earlier filed a petition challenging the re-election of Lalong, claiming that there were cases of over voting as well as vote cancelations during the March polls.
The petitioners had also claimed that Lalong was not qualified to contest the election since the certificate he submitted to INEC had a different name other than his.
However Justice Saleeman, in a unanimous judgement, said Lalong was duly qualified to contest the election and stated that the different names as alleged by the petitioners cannot stand as all the names were linked and belonged to the governor who had effected a change of name, published in the Nigeria Standard newspaper.
One of the PDP counsels, Edward Pwajok (SAN), told journalists that his clients were not satisfied with the judgement and will appeal. However, effort to reach Useni and the PDP was unsuccessful.
In Abuja, the Sokoto Governorship Election Petition Tribunal also upheld the election of Governor Tambuwal.
The three-man panel led by Justice Abbas Abdullahi unanimously dismissed the petition filed against the election by the APC and its governorship candidate, Ahmed Aliyu.
The panel held that the petitioners failed to prove allegations of over-voting and could not neither prove noncompliance to the Electoral Act.
However, counsel to the petitioners, Sam Kargbo, told journalists shortly after the judgment that the petitioners will appeal the verdict.
He said the issues that were determined were few and narrow; and the parties themselves know that there is no cause for alarm.
Tambuwal’s lawyer, Eze Duru on his part said, “we are filled with joy and happiness. This is a judgment that started six months ago, and today, we have seen the fruit of our labour.”
We are all winners – Lalong
In his reaction, Lalong yesterday extended a hand of fellowship to the opposition PDP and its candidate, Sen Useni.
Lalong urged PDP and Useni to join hands with his administration to rescue the people of the state from underdevelopment, insecurity and poverty, adding that, “there is no winner or loser in this verdict; Plateau State is the winner.”
In a statement signed by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr. Makut Simon Macham, Lalong described his victory at the tribunal as a victory for the entire people of the state and an affirmation of the mandate freely given to him in the last election.
My victory at tribunal God’s will – Tambuwal
Addressing supporters at government house Sokoto ,Tambuwal said his victory at the election petition tribunal was God’s will.
“We won in the first round of the election before it was declared inconclusive and the rerun was conducted and we won again.
“Then APC and its candidate decided to approach the tribunal and we won at the tribunal again. We have every cause to celebrate this victory and to dedicate it to Almighty God and the people of Sokoto State,” he said.
He called on the APC candidate, Ahmed Aliyu and members of the party to join hands with him to move the state forward.
Contacted for comment, APC Chairman in Sokoto State Alhaji Isa Achida, said he would only comment after going through the judgement.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Ganduje and Lalong on the affirmation of their victories in the March 2019 gubernatorial polls by the respective State Governorship Election Petition Tribunals.
The president, who described the verdict of the tribunals as a victory for democracy, hailed the people of Kano and Plateau States for maintaining the peace, allowing the due process of law to prevail and respecting the role of the judiciary in a democracy.