UPDATED: Supreme Court upholds Bala Mohammed’s election as Bauchi governor

Bala Mohammed, Governor of Bauchi State.
Bala Mohammed, Governor of Bauchi State.

The Supreme Court, on Monday, upheld the election of Bala Muhammed of the People’s Democratic Party ( PDP) as governor of Bauchi State.

The unanimous judgment read by Justice Dattijo Mohammed dismissed the appeal by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Muhammed Abubakar.

The seven-member panel of the apex court held that the evidence of the appellants’ witnesses at the election tribunal was inadmissible.

Reading the lead judgement on Monday, Justice Mohammed held that the witness’ statement of the appellant was incompetent and of no value.

The judge said the witness statement in the face of the law amounted to no evidence at all.

According to Justice Mohammed, the court dismissed the appeal on the ground that the witness’ deposition was made in Hausa but only adopted the English translation without attaching the original statement deposed to in Hausa.

The apex court noted that the appellant alleged infractions in 336 polling units and yet, he failed to call witnesses in 307 of the said polling units.

The judge added that some of the witnesses called by Mr Abubakar admitted that they did not participate in the election.

Justice Mohammed, therefore, held that the appellant failed to prove the allegation of infractions and thus the court found no merit in the appeal.

“The court remains persistent, it would align itself with the current findings of the two lower courts, unless it is demonstrated by the appellants that these findings are perversed.

“The appellants have failed to demonstrate the perversity in the concurrent decision of the two lower courts.

“I find no merit in this appeal and hereby dismiss same,” he held.

Lower courts’ decision

The Court of Appeal, Jos Division, on November 29 dismissed the appeal filed by the APC and former Governor Abubakar, against Governor Mohammed.

The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Bauchi had, on October 7, 2019, dismissed the petition of the APC and its candidate in the election and affirmed the victory of Mr Mohammed as the duly elected governor of Bauchi State.

Dissatisfied with the tribunal’s judgement, the APC approached the higher court asking it to set aside the lower Court’s judgment and declare its candidate, Mr Abubakar, as the duly-elected governor.

In the Court of Appeal judgement on Novemeber 29, the five-member panel dismissed all the four grounds of the appeal filed by the APC and Mr Abubakar.

Reading the judgement, Justice O. A Otisi held that all the grounds of appeal filed before the court by the appellants lacked merit and thereby dismissed them.

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