The Supreme Court of Nigeria sitting in Abuja today affirmed the election of Governors Ahmed Abdulfatah of Kwara, Martin Elechi of Ebonyi, and Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nassarawa.
A five-man appeal panel of the court, led by Justice John Fabiyi, dismissed the Appeal of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship candidate in Kwara State during last April’s governorship polls, Mohammed Belgore, for the petitioner’s inability to prove substantial non-compliance with the provision of the Electoral Act in 895 polling units across the state.
The apex court judgment was read by Justice Francis Tabai, who held that what the petitioner proved was not strong enough to affect the outcome of the elections. The court dismissed the appeal and upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Ilorin which held that Abdulfatah Ahmed of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was validly elected, having scored valid lawful votes cast at the election.
The Supreme Court also today dismissed the petition brought by Julius Ucha, the governorship candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Ebonyi State, challenging the judgment of the court of Appeal sitting in Enugu which upheld the election of Martins Elechi of PDP as the validly elected governor of the state.
The Apex court’s ruling which was read by Justice Bode Rhode-Vivor says the petitioner had failed to prove substantial non-compliance to the provisions of the Electoral Act with respect to the 531 election units he complained about in his petition.
The court said the onus was on the petitioner to prove the non-compliance, which he failed to do and that Ebonyi State had 13 local governments, 171 wards and 1735 polling units, as such non-compliance must substantially be proved for his prayers to make any leeway.
The court further said the petitioner had presented 117 witnesses during the course of the trial at the lower courts and that most of them did not sound convincing to the judges.
Justice Fabiyi said the evidence presented by the petitioner “failed woefully to show that there was substantial non compliance” adding that the appeal “lacked merit and is hereby dismissed.”
In the case of Nassarawa state, the Supreme Court judgment was read by Justice Fabiyi who said the petitioner failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the election was marred by violence, multiple thumb-printing and ballot box stuffing.
Justice Fabiyi dismissed the appeal and affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi which declared Mr. Al-Makura as the validly elected governor of Nassarawa state.