APC’s Mama Taraba loses at Appeal Court

Darius Ishaku, Taraba State Governor
Darius Ishaku, Taraba State Governor

The Court of Appeal In Abuja has cancelled the purported victory handed Aisha Alhassan, by an election tribunal, as the governor of Taraba State.

Mrs. Alhassan, the candidate of the All Peoples Congress, was declared winner on November 7.

In doing so, the Taraba State Governorship Election Tribunal nullified the election of Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party.

But in its ruling Thursday, the Court of Appeal which reviewed Mr. Ishaku’s appeal, described as “unattainable” a petition by the APC seeking to disqualify Mr. Ishaku as the PDP candidate in the gubernatorial election of April 11.
In a unanimous ruling, a five-man panel led by Justice Abdul Aboki said that the Election Tribunal was wrong in giving victory to Mrs. Alhassan, while nullifying the election of Mr. Ishaku.

The judges said the constitution clearly states that unless a candidate has been indicted by a court of law, or is known to have a criminal record, or has certain degree of health condition, among others, such a person cannot be determined by a tribunal as not being qualified as a candidate.

Mr. Aboki said the failure of a party to conduct a conclusive primaries – the grounds the tribunal cited for disqualifying Mr. Ishaku – was clearly a pre-election matter which the tribunal has no jurisdiction on.

Mr. Aboki said the important question about Section 85 of the Electoral Act was whether the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which the section was made for, was complaining about the candidature of Mr. Ishaku.

“If INEC does not see any reason to complain, can the first and second respondent be seen complaining loudly?” Mr. Aboki questioned.

“I have found in this case that the first and second respondent have no right to challenge the emergence of the PDP governorship candidate since none of them is a member of the PDP,” said Mr. Aboki.

Mr. Aboki also said that the election tribunal drew wrong conclusions from the evidences provided by the witnesses.

Mr. Aboki said the constitution does not provide for the type of judgement that gave victory to Mrs. Alhassan.

He said the constitution states that if a person is considered unqualified for an election, the election should be declared null and void.

In the event that the election is considered to have been affected by irregularities, the judge said the court shall not declare the person with the second highest votes winner, but can only demand a rerun of elections.

“It is therefore a gross misdirection in law on the part of the trial tribunal to declare the first petitioner as the winner of the election of April 2015 for emerging with the second highest votes”.

“The decision of the tribunal is hereby set aside,” said Mr. Aboki.

He upheld the decision of INEC to return Mr. Ishaku as the duly elected governor of the state.

The APC had argued that Mr. Ishaku could not have been qualified for the election since he allegedly did not partake in any primaries by his party.

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.


  • Cleartruth

    Will buhari, the demented dictator, obey this court order? Time shall tell

    • ikenna

      Lol. You mean Emperor Buhari. I wept for this country.

      • Baba

        Agony of a biafran and his co travelers.

        • ikenna

          Lol. It seems this Biafra issues is going you sleepless nights. Oh boy take it easy oh lol

    • Man_Enough

      Animals like you don’t deserve that the rule of law be applied to. Your idiocy, disrespect, lack of home training and sins have already condemned you.

  • B.Messi

    APC LongThroat.
    APC in Taraba ke!
    Only If wishes were horses….

    Hahahahahaha!!!

  • Omolaja nofiu

    Let the rule of law and fairness continue to prevail in Nigeria.
    I am happy for this ruling, not because I am for any of the parties or candidates, but because I want a Nigerian democracy that is built on the people’s majority votes. Not by few judges with “suspicious” characters and party apologists like Mr Salami who “awarded” governorship position to Aregbesola with the second highest votes instead of ordering for a rerun. May God continue to give Nigeria judges with clear consciences and integrity and not party apologists who are smuggled-in to do dirty jobs.
    Best wishes to Nigeria and our resilient people who have had to endure all kinds of corrupt, laissez faire and mentally shallow leaders and judges over the years.

  • justification

    justice Aboki , justice Aboki, how many times did i call your name? ,, it is sad and unthinkable of a hausa fulani judge of your kind, to pass a judgment that is against president buhari long time girl friend. must you decide the case by explicitly supporting the judgment with legal, constitutional fact, and Authority? dose it means you cannot write imaginary judgment that looks real but absurd in magnitude? apparently for trying to defend the Constitution and your oat of office which you swore to defend, you will be sack by President buhari. even though your judgment is correct and incontrovertible but it is against the will of APC and buhari.

    • yukkmouff

      Hahahahaha…………I truly hope you’ve masked your IP address or out of the country at least; because, this time around, oga Buhari isn’t taking any prisoners!!!

  • SamPsalm

    Our judges should be firm and fair regardless of party. Salute to Justice and other panel members of the Court of Appeal. Aboki Hope the APC will test the judgment at the Supreme Court because of certain germane issues of locus standi or competence to challenge eligibility of a candidate at a general election raised. There have been past judgments clearly stating that Election Tribunals can entertain pre-election matters. This one asserts the contrary. The Constitution recognizes dynamic degrees of eligibility: this judgment seems to recognize only one. Instead of the fact that eligibility depends on the level of engagement. Eligibility to contest primary is not the same as eligibility to contest general election – as the latter necessary includes the extra requirement of having won a valid primary at the party level: a matter which no law restricts its questioning to only members of the party which contested the primaries. By and by, a bold judgment which the Supreme Court should test

    • Mayo

      While there might have been past judgements at the election tribunal level stating that election tribunals can entertain pre-election matters (as the Taraba election tribunal did), they have been reversed at the appeal court. More importantly, Section 140 (2) of the Electoral Act says …where an election is nullified on the ground that the person who obtained the highest votes was not qualified to contest the questioned election, the tribunal shall NOT declare the person with second highest votes as elected, but shall order a fresh election… So even if the PDP candidate was deemed not to have been validly nominated, APC could not have been declared the winner

      • SamPsalm

        Agree substantially – except with regard to the pre-election question. I do know there are standing decisions on point stating that they can be consolidated as part of an election petition after the conduct of an election. Just glad our courts are at least coming through relatively on time so that we all can get some of those cobwebs sorted out. Happy New Year

  • Ade Omowest

    The court agreed that PDP flaunted the Nigerian constitution in sponsoring Ishiaku and still upholds his election. Is our constitution now toothless? Anyway, PDP should not laugh yet, as the supreme court will sort things out. However, PDP’s Abia State governor Ikpeazu has lost to Dr. Alex Ottih of APGA today, I hope they will not complain that Buhari wrote the judgement.

    • THE SOURCE

      Danjuma defeat Buhari in Taraba state—The rest of the Nigerian state belongs to APC–unthinking Buhari is gradually leading Nigeria to a revolution—–Buhari is gone——A national disgrace——who could not answer a single question–haba–I s this all we can get–out of 170m Nigerians?

      • musa aliyu

        Yes, but he’s better than the misfortune called your father that gave birth to an urchin like you

    • Mayo

      The court can only grant reliefs sought before it and if it was brought by the right person. According to law, only PDP members can bring a court case challenging the nomination of the PDP candidate on the basis that he was not properly nominated via PDP primaries.

  • REDEEM

    DANJUMA DEFEATS BUHARI ATI THE APES IN APC IN TARABA STATE AGAIN

    (Fact is that Aisha is not the heroine her media handlers are trying to make her appear. And as a coalition of serious minded women, Aisha, in our view is actually a disgrace to the womenfolk of Taraba.

    Here is a woman whom we can’t say has inspired anyone in terms of matrimony or monetary deals. A serial divorcee, we wonder what she would be teaching our daughters.

    If she ever gets to Government House, Jalingo, clearly Nigeria would have gotten its first executive Red Light district! We know what we are talking about.

    We detest her indecent use of feminism in this election. Aisha has continue to hoodwink the world that if elected she would have been the first elected female governor. That seems to be all that matters to her. She wants to make history.

    But what part of that history is of any benefit to us as women? So if we have a female governor, does that mean that our lot would become better?

    If Aisha becomes governor does that mean she would empower all the women in our state? What has she done for women to warrant our support? All we see is a very morally bankrupt woman parading herself as a champion of women. Whenever she comes to Taraba, all she does is demean the poor folks with her loud sirens.)

    Although her moniker has now been changed to “Mama Taraba”, the truth is that she used to be called “Mama mai Container.” She got this name because of her proclivity to come into town with a loud entourage, after which she announces that she is around with container of money.

    In most cases, the containers actually contain cheap wrappers. When many women around her saw through her shenanigans, they just walked away from her. Aisha likes to cheapen people around her. She is also cantankerous, always making trouble. That is not the way we Taraba women are.

    And speaking of intimidation, Aisha is actually the one doing all the intimidation now. She is holding press conferences and practically blackmailing the PDP. She lied that the party rigged. She lied that the Acting Governor, Sani Abubakar Danladi, is fighting her. She lied that she has the majority of votes in the Southern zone. That is certainly not possible.

    Aisha did not lose the election because she is a woman. After all, she won the senate seat as a woman- the first in Taraba history for that matter. Aisha lost the election because

    1. Taraba is predominantly a PDP state. This is the pattern since 2007. Even now, the PDP swept all the National and State Assembly seats. The APC stands no chance.

    2. Political leaders of the Southern Zone want power shift to the region. The main anchor of this election is that of power shift. The North, where Aisha comes from, has been in power for 10 years. No one wants any of that again and Governor Danbaba Suntai (who has done 8 years from the central zone) wants power to shift to the south for balance. How can Aisha hope to win in the bastion of the power shift agitation? It makes no sense. The southern zone and their allies all over the state actually have decided power should shift to the south. This has affected Aisha’s position.

    3. Aisha, like we pointed out, has moral issues, especially her uncertain marital status. A majority of men and women in the state know all the shady private life of the woman and they are not down for that. She doesn’t have even the temperament of a governor. As senator, we dare challenge; she did not show any visible sign of helping up lift the state.

    4. Taraba is a traditional society. Such novelty is not easy for our local people to contemplate

    5. Aisha is up against a formidable opponent in the person of Arc. Darius Ishaku a former minister in three ministries. Track records apart, he is a man of integrity and impeachable character compared to the sleazy Aisha.

    ( As Using Gender As a Weapon of Manipulation fail in Taraba state–and Danjuma defeats Buhari again ati the Apes in APC.–POWER PASS pOWER

    The way Aisha is going about it, you would know she is merely using her status as a woman to cry wolf when there was none. That she would have forced women from Taraba go protest naked on the streets of abuja–if she loses at the court of Appeal

    It is an effective weapon for sympathy generation, especially outside the shores of Taraba. But we dare say that elections are not won on the basis of gender. They are won on the basis of raw votes from an election. Aisha is behaving as if she wants Taraban and indeed Nigerians to APPOINT rather than ELECT her a female governor.

    BUT JUST AS SHE WON HER SENATE SEAT UNDER THE PDP IN 2011 THROUGH RAW VOTES, THAT IS HOW SHE SHOULD BE PLANNING TO WIN THIS LATEST CONTEST AND NOT BY GOING ABOUT CRYING LIKE A VILLAGE WITCH.

    THAT WAS NOT THE WAY HILARY CLINTON CAMPAIGNED. And even in that advanced country Hilary lost to Barack Obama because the people believed he was the better choice. In any case, even if we want to support a woman to become governor, it is not the likes of Senator Aisha who lacks the moral basis to be a people’s leader. Period.

    Mairo Abdullahi is a public analyst based in Taraba

    Share On:

    Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)

    94Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)94

    Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)

    Measuring Buhari’s Socio-economic policies in 2016

    In “Opinion”

    Why some PDP leaders are praising Buhari

    In “Opinion”

    Life-long learning is a missing link in nursing profession — Prof. John

    Related

  • Burning Spear

    Buhari’s presidency a misadventure for Nigerians, he remains a dictator – Fayose

    Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has described the return to power of President Mohammadu Buhari as a misadventure for Nigerians, calling on the international community, especially organisations like the United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) to focus their attention on human rights abuses and contempt for the rule of law in Nigeria in 2016.”

    Governor Fayose, who said he was not disappointed by the President’s response during his media chat, to question on the disobedient of court orders by the Department of State Security (DSS), added that he had said it several times that once a dictator will always be a dictator and that those who helped him to power will end up in his gaol of dictatorship.

    In a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, the governor said he was aware of plot to muzzle him and others considered as non-conformists because of their opinion and critical stance on the President and his government, adding that; “such plot will definitely be counterproductive.”

    He described the way and manner the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) was being treated by the federal government as the hallmark of a dictator. “I said it earlier that Buhari is a dictator and I warned several times that those that were promoting this lion will end up in its belly.

    “Having heard from the President himself declaring Col Sambo Dasuki and Nnamdi Kanu guilty even before trial, Nigerians should be prepared for a return of the 1984 experience in which Buhari’s Military tribunal sentenced people to jail terms ranging from 21 to 300 years, such that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) had to boycott the tribunal. Even when former Ondo state Governor, late Chief Michael Ajasin was twice cleared of any wrongdoing by Buhari’s military tribunals; he was made to remain in prison.

  • Austin Uduogu

    The APC do not want to produce the first female governor in Nigeria. They are allergic to that, so they manipulated the court to rule in favor of the PDP. They also do not want anything to do with Abia state, so they influenced the Appeal court to rule for APGA. If say na lie ask Olisa Metuh.

    • musa aliyu

      Ntoor!!!!

    • SamPsalm

      I like that Nigerians are coming to grasp with the perverted but simple mindset of Olisa Metuh

  • Nkem

    I really don’t know who is causing all these problems in this country. Is it our judges or the lawyers or the senate which made the laws? How can these courts be saying one matter is “PRE ELECTION” and at the same time be quoting from the Electoral Law? Besides, on what grounds precisely is the Appeal Court pronouncing this judgement? On one hand, it says the matter is pre election. Then it turns around to say that the relevant section in the electoral act is for INEC, and that INEC was the one with the right to complain. Then you turn around to say that the entire election should have been annulled in case of irregularities. Besides, is it not the same Appeal Court that have just upheld the votes of one candidate in Abia, even though it simultaneously ruled that the votes cast in the same area under contention exceeded the total number of registered voters in that area?

    • Mayo

      The logic is this
      1) If a matter is considered a pre-election matter, then the election tribunal should not have ruled on it meaning the court which awarded Mrs. Alhassan victory should have struck out the case.
      2) The court which granted this latest judgement is not an election tribunal. It is the court of appeal. The sequence is – you first go to the election tribunal; if you are not satisfied, then you raise an appeal to the Appeal Court; if you are not satisfied with their ruling, then you go to the Supreme court.
      3) The Court of Appeal’s judgement is in two parts. The first part dealt with the basis on which APC challenged the election. APC alleged that the PDP candidate was not validly elected as the PDP candidate because the PDP primaries did not hold in Taraba. The Court of Appeal is saying that since APC is not a member of APC, they have no locus standi to challenge the selection of the PDP candidate. That challenge they said can only be sought by members of the PDP or INEC. For INEC, the court listed the conditions under which INEC could challenge a party’s candidate. In the second part of their ruling, the court said – assuming the PDP candidate was found to be unqualified to stand election (e.g. if it was discovered later that the candidate did not meet the age requirements or does not have the educational qualifications, etc), the Electoral act says a fresh election should be conducted. The electoral law does not say the person with the second highest number of votes wins.

      • Man_Enough

        Thank you for educating me.

      • SamPsalm

        Nice effort. BUT.

        1. The Court of Appeal seems to have set a new criteria for locus to challenge eligibility to contest a general election as to exclude an actual participant at the election who is affected thereby. In other words, the Court of Appeal is saying that if the PDP puts up a goat [no puns intended] for the general election, every other party or its candidate has no locus to protest if INEC and PDP sees nothing wrong with that. That cannot be the position or objective of the Electoral Act. Eligibility is a Constitutional question. Eligibility is also a dynamic and a progressively enlarging phenomenon. Eligibility for the party primaries before a general election is not the same as eligibility for a general election even though the latter includes the former. So, a participant in the general election ought to as a matter of common sense have the locus to question seeming non-compliance with the constitutive elements of eligibility envisaged for a general election. That includes how the primaries were conducted. It is also a question which can only come up practicably after the general election if one looks at the amount of time legally allowed between the final submission of names of candidates by parties and a general election.

        Secondly, your interpretation of Section 140 (2) of the Electoral Act is not without problems. “…where an election is NULLIFIED on the ground that the person who obtained the highest votes was not qualified to contest the questioned election, the tribunal shall NOT declare the person with second highest votes as elected, but shall order a fresh election”. First the draftsmen could have been clearer. Is it possible to annul an ELECTION and then declare someone the winner? Or do they mean something else like: where the first declared winner cannot appropriate his electoral victory by reason of not being qualified in the first place? Secondly, there is indeed a difference between not being qualified and eligible. You can pass all the constitutional criteria for qualification and yet not be eligible. Qualification is part of eligibility: but eligibility is so much more than qualification. The Electoral Act at least was careful enough to restrict itself to qualification. So taken together, it is at least tenable that a question can be put to the Supreme Court to decide whether the scenario in Taraba is the same one envisaged by the Electoral Act.

        Was the PDP candidate candidate deemed not qualified or ineligible? Does the ineligibility of the candidate of every party void the entire election if that candidate wins? Or is he or she deemed to be a legal interloper and hence not a party to the election thereby voiding every vote purportedly cast for him? PDP shot itself in the feet by moving that primary to Abuja without INEC observing as clearly made mandatory by the Electoral Act. How the Supreme Court resolves the issues should be interesting

        • Mayo

          The first part of the scenario you painted is theoretically possible though one does not expect it to happen. In law, there is always the issue of locus standi. If you don’t have the locus standi to bring a case, the court will not hear such a case. This principle has been applied in several cases. You also said – that cannot be the position or objective of the Electoral act. Unfortunately, it is. The assumption there is that someone in the PDP should have been ‘injured enough’ to approach the courts. A non-electoral example is the issue of due process in a criminal case. If someone commits a crime and the police searches the person’s house without a duely signed search warrant, any evidence found from that search is thrown out (even if that evidence is the only thing needed to convict the person). You can argue that the objective of the law is not to allow criminals go free but the law will say – well, you should have followed due process to obtain the evidence cos if you don’t, it means that tomorrow you can ‘rope’ an innocent man into a case which he is not involved in.

          Please note – I’m neither in support nor against PDP or APC here. I just believe that we should follow our laws and when we find them to be inadequate, we should fix them.

          • SamPsalm

            But you see, your analogy pertaining to criminal proceedings does not apply in fact. Evidence is admissible even if obtained illegally so long as it is relevant. That is the state of the law in Nigerian and most part of the world I know of. The law does not however preclude seeking appropriate reliefs – including criminal sanctions against the obtaining party for the illegality giving rise to the evidence.

            I still think that the sui-generis nature of election petitions remain the paramount consideration. Until you can show a law that strictly defines locus standi to challenge a party nomination process the way the Judges have done, then their narrow conceptualization of locus standi is questionable. Our Courts and indeed our Constitution have over the years adopted the attitude that ACCESS may not be denied except where expressly stipulated via legislation especially where the question is a constitutional one. Eligibility for election is a constitutional question.

          • Mayo

            That is completely false. Evidence obtained illegally is inadmissible. In the US and UK which we try to emulate, evidence (no matter how relevant) is tossed out for being obtained illegally. Why do you think those countries emphasize due process? People who have been caught with drugs in their cars have had their cases dismissed because their defense lawyers were able to prove that the search of their cars were illegal, confessions made by suspects have been deemed inadmissible in court because the suspect was not mirandized or was not given a chance to consult a lawyer first.

            Please, do not spread false information.

        • Sean

          What a fantastic legal reasoning! I doff my hat! You should be a legal columnist my guy, you too much

      • abodes_124

        Mayo, thanks for trying to clarify further what has been clearly stated already . However as is evident from the preceding by Nkem and other responses that are bound to follow people either do not have the capacity to understand or deliberately refuse to understand. Do not expend further time and effort on such people.

        • aisha ani

          That was not very nice.

      • aisha ani

        Outstanding!