Connect with us


Supreme Court upholds reversal of Tribunal judgment sacking Nasarawa gov, Sule



Gov Sule suspends inauguration of Nasarawa 7th Assembly over insecurity

The reversal of the sack of Nasarawa State governor, Abdulahi Sule has been upheld by the Supreme Court in a judgement delivered on Friday.

In a unanimous decision by a five-member panel, the apex court upheld the declaration of Sule of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) as winner of the governorship election held in the state on March 18, 2023 in the state

Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, in the lead judgement she delivered, dismissed as lacking in merit, the appeal that was filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, David Ombugadu.

Ripples Nigeria recalls that the Nasarawa State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, in a two-to-one split judgement it delivered on October 2, 2023, nullified Governor Sule’s election and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a fresh Certificate of Return to the PDP candidate.

According to the tribunal, it was satisfied that Governor Sule was a beneficiary of over-voting that occurred in several polling units in the state.

However, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, while delivering judgement in an appeal filed by Governor Sule and his party, on November 23, reversed his sack and vacated the decision of the tribunal.

The appellate court held that the tribunal erred in law when it concluded that Governor Sule did not win the majority of lawful votes that were cast in the election.

The appellate court maintained that the record before it established that the tribunal relied on legally inadmissible evidence to declare the PDP candidate as the valid winner of the governorship contest.

READ ALSO:Nasarawa gov explains why governors supported subsidy removal

It also ruled that the tribunal wrongly relied on the evidence of eight of the witnesses that were produced by the PDP candidate, whose witness statements on oath were not front-loaded alongside the petition.

It stressed that under Section 285(5) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, Section 132(7) of the Electoral Act 2022, and Paragraphs 4(5) (6) and 14(2) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, every written statement on oath must be filed alongside the petition within the statutorily allocated time.

The appellate court therefore struck out all the evidence and exhibits that were tendered before the tribunal by the eight witnesses.

It further held that the evidence of the 12 remaining witnesses who testified for the PDP candidate was not sufficient to sustain the judgement of the tribunal.

The appellate court also held that the tribunal was in error when it deducted a total of 1,868 votes that were credited to Governor Sule on the premise that over-voting occurred in four polling units, adding that the tribunal was wrong in its decision since the petitioners did not provide the necessary documents needed to prove over-voting.

It held that the tribunal acted wrongly when it recomputed votes and made the declaration that returned the PDP candidate as winner of the election.

It consequently vacated the order of the tribunal that directed INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return that was issued to Governor Sule and to issue a fresh one to Ombugadu of the PDP.

Join the conversation


Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism

Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.

As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.

If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.

Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.

Donate Now