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Delta, Niger, Taraba, Abia governors get S’Court affirmation

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ON Wednesday, the Supreme Court upheld the victories of Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa; Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello;  Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu and Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku.

Following a petition by the candidate of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Alex Otti who took judicial measures to pursue nullification of the election earlier affirmed by the state electoral petition which ruled that the APC candidate was unable to prove his allegations of over-voting and non-compliance with the electoral act in the conduct of the election.

Having failed at the State Tribunal, the Supreme Court ruled that the appellants were unable to prove that the alleged overvoting if removed, will result in victory for the appellant.

Justice of the Supreme Court, Paul Galinje, while reading the judgment on behalf of the seven-man panel of judge said the appellants failed to ‘relate the documents tendered, to the specific areas of their case so that the figures representing over voting if removed, will result in victory for the appellant or render the election a nullity’.

In Taraba, Darius Ishaku’s victory was as well challenged by the All Progressive Congress (APC) over non-compliance with provisions of the 2010 Electoral Act.

Acknowledging that the APC did not have a candidate in the election, counsel to APC, Ishiaka Dikko prayed the court to dismiss the governor’s election with claims that the second runner up of the state’s primary should have been allowed to contest.

However, the judges ruled that the APC’s argument that the second runner up in the primary should have been allowed to contest the election was wrong because Sani Yahaya, did not participate at any stage of the election.

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The judgement held that the appeal was merely academic and a “waste of judicial time” and that the APC lacked the locus standi to file a petition in the first place at the tribunal because their candidate did not contest the election.

Delivering the judgment, the Apex Court judges agreed that APC did not have a legal candidate at the election due to Danladi’s disqualification.

It was a similar case in Delta state as Great Ogboru and the APC petitioned the court seeking the disqualification of the election that brought in Delta state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa on grounds that there were alleged irregularity and non-compliance with electoral provisions.

Justice Chima Centus Nweze, the Supreme Court judge while delivering his judgement ruled that the petitioners failed to prove allegations of over-voting and that ‘the appeal is a sheer waste of the precious time of the court’.

Meanwhile, in Niger state, an appeal filed by PDP candidate and Umar Mohammed Nasko against the candidature of Abubakar Bello, the APC candidate over alleged forged documents and false information submitted to the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) was also dismissed.

However, Mary Uwani Abaji, the Supreme Court judge held that due to the decision of the State Electoral Tribunal to deliver a judgement outside the 180 days as stipulated by the law, the Supreme Court does not have the jurisdiction to give verdict on the petition.

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