THE Court of Appeal in Abuja has affirmed Governor Bala Mohammed of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the March 18 governorship election in Bauchi state.
While delivering the lead judgment, Justice Chidiebere Nwaoma Uwa on Friday, November 17, ruled that the All Progressive Candidate and its candidate, Sadique Abubakar, failed to prove the allegations of malpractices and non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022 against Mohammed and the PDP.
It also held that the appellant did not specify the polling units implicated in the allegations and couldn’t correctly prove the deficiencies in the forms, adding that the appellant failed to demonstrate how the incorrectly filled forms impacted the election results.
The Appeal Court also stated that the witnesses presented by the appellant failed to establish their familiarity with the appearance of the forms and further praised the tribunal for diligently examining the evidence at hand.
Ruling on the issue of the alleged unprofessional conduct of INEC officials, the court aligned its judgment with the tribunal’s perspective, stating that the appellant didn’t initially raise it in the lower court and, therefore, couldn’t be pleaded or argued.
In March, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Mohammed the winner of the Bauchi governorship election.
Mohammed polled 525,280 votes to defeat his closest rival, Sadique Abubakar of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who polled 432,272 votes.
The returning officer, Abdulkarim Mohammed, a professor at the Federal University, Dutse, declared the incumbent governor, Mohammed, the winner, “having fulfilled all the requirements of the law.”
The returning officer said the total number of registered voters stood at 2,749,268, while accredited voters numbered 1,058,381.
Dissatisfied with the poll’s outcomes, the APC candidate petitioned the Bauchi State Election Petitions Tribunal to declare Mohammed’s victory void.
Meanwhile, on September 20, the tribunal dismissed the lawsuit filed by the opposition party and its candidate and affirmed Mohammed as the governor.
Disappointed with the decision, Abubakar appealed the tribunal’s ruling at the Appeal Court.