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Appeal Court reverses Tribunal ruling, affirms election of Sule as Nasarawa governor



Abducted Nasarawa governor’s aide regains freedom

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Thursday affirmed the election of Abdullahi Sule as the duly elected governor of Nasarawa State.

I’m doing this, the appellate court reversed an earlier judgment of the Nasarawa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which had earlier removed Sule as the state governor.

The Court of Appeal Abuja has overruled the sack of the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule issued by the State Election Petitions Tribunal in its judgment delivered on October 2.

The three-member panel of the Appeal Court, chaired by Justice Uchechukwu Onyemenam, ruled that the Tribunal, which delivered its judgment on October 2, was required by law to act upon witness testimony submitted with the petition or front-loaded within the allotted 21 days.

The Appellate Court determined that the Tribunal, headed by Ezekiel Ajayi, made a major mistake when it relied on under oath witness testimonies that were not front-loaded in accordance with the law to reach the unfair conclusion that the governor’s election should be void.

The Court held that no petition can lawfully be amended outside the 21 days allowed by law as wrongly done by the Tribunal.

The Court of Appeal claimed that by failing to take into account and rule on jurisdictional issues brought up during the petition hearing, the Tribunal deprived the governor a fair trial.

READ ALSO:Gov Sule debunks claims on payment of ransom to Nasarawa varsity students’ abductors

The court found that the remarks were the result of illegality and had no probate value for a law court to act upon since the statements used by the Tribunal to remove the governor were not front-loaded in accordance with the law.

The Court added that the claims made to nullify the election were not supported by the law and rejected the overvoting arguments as well.

Justice Onyemenam held that the petition by the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), David Ombugadu, was a nullity and invalid on the ground that the jurisdictional issues raised by the governor was unlawfully ignored by the Tribunal.

Justice Onyemenam concurred that it was catastrophic to deny the governor a fair trial and submitted all of the Tribunal’s rulings as void.

Subsequently, the Court upheld Sule as the state’s legitimately elected governor and overturned all decisions made against the governor and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Sule was proclaimed the victor of the governorship race by INEC on the grounds that he received 347,209 votes overall, more than his nearest rival David Emmanuel Ombugadu, who received 283,016 votes.

On October 2, the tribunal ruled in a split judgement to declare Ombugadu the winner and to void Sule’s election.

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