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S’court affirms Makinde, El-Rufai as duly elected governors

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ON Wednesday, the Supreme Court upheld the appointment of Seyi Makinde as governor of Oyo State, contrary to the decision of the appeal court.

Earlier in November, the appeal court in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, ruled in favour of Adebayo Adelabu, candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) against Makinde of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The Appeal Court set aside the ruling of the tribunal noting that it was ‘perverse’ in its judgement. It ruled that the appellants, the APC and Adelabu were not giving fair hearing by the tribunal.

The APC and Adelabu had approached the tribunal seeking that the March 9 election result be nullified.

However, the tribunal sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State led by Justice Sirajo Muhammed, on September 16, ruled that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations of corrupt practices, overvoting, improper accreditation, inaccurate ballot-counting.

In its ruling, the Appeal Court ordered that status quo before the tribunal’s judgment should remain, which meant Makinde remained the winner of the election as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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 180days for tribunal had been exhausted.

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So, Makinde had approached the apex court, asking it to set aside the decision of the appeal court, and the Supreme Court in a unanimous judgment on Wednesday found merit in the appeal filed by Makinde that the majority judgment of the Appeal Court was a miscarriage of justice.

The Apex Court affirmed the majority judgment of the trial tribunal which upheld the election of Makinde as the duly elected governor while noting that the appeal court’s majority judgement setting aside the ruling of the tribunal was not meritorious and deserved to be set aside.

The court further ruled that the minority decision of the Court of Appeal was more deserving of the apex court’s consideration and upheld the minority decision of the court of appeal which validated Makinde’s election.

Meanwhile, the Apex court also upheld the election of Nasir el-Rufai as the governor of Kaduna state. It dismissed a petition by PDP against the election of  El-Rufai.

It said the appeal filed by the PDP and Isah Ashiru, its governorship candidate, lacked merit.

“I find no merit in this appeal and therefore enter an order dismissing it,” the court held.

The PDP and Ashiru had asked that the court set aside the decisions of the Court of Appeal and the Kaduna State tribunal which both affirmed El-Rufai as duly elected governor.

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El-Rufai had been declared the winner of the Kaduna state governorship elections with 1, 045, 427 votes, defeating Ashiru with over 200,000 votes.

The Apex Court in a unanimous decision ruled that the PDP and its candidate failed to prove the issues raised in their allegations and subsequently dismissed the petition.

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