HomeNewsSupreme Court Dismisses Ombugadu’s Appeal, Affirms Sule as Nasarawa Governor

Supreme Court Dismisses Ombugadu’s Appeal, Affirms Sule as Nasarawa Governor

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The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the election of Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State.

 

A five-member panel of the Supreme Court, led by Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, dismissed the appeal filed by David Umbugadu of the Peoples Democratic Party, challenging Mr Sule’s victory.

 

In the judgement, Ms Kekere-Ekun said, “The issues in this appeal are resolved against the appellant. The appeal lacks merit and it is hereby dismissed.”

 

She said the Court of Appeal in Abuja was right to have “set aside the decision of the tribunal” which had declared Mr Umbugadu the winner of the poll.

The appeal is frivolous, vexatious and lacking in merit. It is hereby dismissed”, Tijjani Abubakar, a member of the Supreme Court panel, said while contributing to the lead decision.

 

Background

The Court of Appeal had, on November 23, overturned the decision of the Nasarawa State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which sat in Lafia, the state capital.

 

In its ruling, the appellate court said the tribunal was wrong to have concluded that Governor Sule of the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not win the majority of lawful votes cast at the polls.

 

In the lead decision handed down by Uchechukwu Onuemenam, the appellate court held that the record before it established that the tribunal relied on legally inadmissible evidence to declare the candidate of the PDP, Mr Ombugadu, as the winner of the governorship election.

 

According to the appellate court, 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 explained that under section 285(5) of the Nigerian constitution, 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 struck out all the evidence and exhibits that were tendered before the tribunal by the eight witnesses.

 

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

 

In addition, the Court of Appeal held that the tribunal was in error when it deducted a total of 1,868 votes that were ascribed to Governor Sule because of alleged over-voting in four polling units.

It held that the tribunal was wrong in its decision since the petitioners did not provide the necessary documents needed to prove over-voting.

 

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

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