Supreme Court Reaffirms Sule Abdullahi as Duly elected Governor of Nasarawa - The Top Society

Supreme Court Reaffirms Sule Abdullahi as Duly elected Governor of Nasarawa

HANNAH ONI

Adewale Ajayi,

 

The Supreme Court has re-affirmed Sule Abdullahi as duly elected Governor of Nasarawa State in the 18th March Governorship poll.

On March 20, INEC declared  the incumbent the All Progressives Congress APC candidate Abdullahi winner with 347,209 votes against his closest challenger the PDP Candidate, David Emmanuel Ombugadu’ who polled 283,016 votes.

Not satisfied with the results declared by INEC Ombugadu and his party, the PDP through their lead counsel, Chief Godwin Kanu Agabi (SAN) approached the tribunal seeking redress. INEC, Audu and APC were listed as the first, second and third defendants, respectively.

The Petitioners prayed amongst others:

that the 2nd defendant did not score the majority of lawful votes and it was the 1st Petitioner who indeed won the election and should have been declared the  winner.

On 2nd October, in a leading judgement of 2-1; the tribunal upheld the petition (EPT/NS/GOV/01/2023), sacked Gov Sule and affirmed Ombugadu as winner.

The tribunal held that there were calculation errors that aided the declared victory of the 2nd defendant and subsequently ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of return  issued to Abdullahi and fresh one to be issued to the 1st Petitioner.

Dismayed by the outcome, Gov Sule Abdullahi through his lead Counsel Chief Wole Olanipekun( SAN) appealed the tribunal ruling at the Court of Appeal.

The Appeal Court in Suit No: CA/MK/EP/GOV/NS/30/2023, averred that Gov Sule was not given fair hearing.

“The tribunal was wrong to have countered the evidence of the subpoenaed witnesses whose witness statements on oath were not front-loaded alongside the petition. 

Therefore, the evidence of PW5, PW6, PW7, PW8, PW12, PW13, PW20 & PW21 and all the exhibits tendered through them are expunged from the records of the Court for been consequently incompetent and hence struck out,” the Court of Appeal held.

The panel led by Justice Uchechukwu Onyemenam JCA subsequently nullified the majority decision of the tribunal, and re-affirmed Gov Sule as duly elected and returned.

Ombugadu  and his party the PDP not satisfied with the ruling of the Court of Appeal approached the Supreme Court.

In consolidated appeals: Ombugadu & Anor v. INEC & Ors (Suit No: SC/CV/1213/2023), the panel led by Justice KMO Kekere-Ekun JSC upheld the Judgement of the Court of Appeal and affirmed the APC Candidate as duly returned.

In a unanimous judgement, the Apex Court held that the well-considered ruling of the Appeal Court cannot be punctured.

 

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