Thu. Oct 21st, 2021

Apex Court affirms elections of El-Rufai, seven other governors

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Not less than eight governors have been affirmed by the Apex court as the winner of 2019 elections in their states.

They are: Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Aminu Masari (Katsina) Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) and Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom).

The Supreme Court held that the appellants against the eight governors failed to prove their cases and dismissed their appeals.

By its decision, the apex court laid to rest the controversy generated by the “ambiguous” decision of the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division, in the Oyo State governorship election dispute.

In upholding Makinde’s election, the Supreme Court agreed with Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), who led Makinde’s legal team, that the majority judgment of the Court of Appeal, which nullified the judgment of the Oyo State Election Petition Tribunal, was flawed.

The Court of Appeal, in a four-to-one majority judgment, had voided the judgment of the election tribunal on the grounds that the tribunal’s decision was “perverse”.

It said the petitioner, Adebayo Adelabu, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was denied fair hearing.

But in its judgment yesterday, a seven-man panel of the Supreme Court further agreed with Olanipekun’s argument that the tribunal’s judgment was in order and that no party was denied fair hearing throughout the period of the hearing.

In the lead judgement delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko, the court upheld Olanipekun’s submission that the majority judgment of the Court of Appeal was not in line with the position of the law.

The Supreme Court allowed Makinde’s appeal, set aside the Court of Appeal’s decision and restored the earlier one by the election tribunal, which upheld the governor’s election victory.

The Supreme Court upheld the election of Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

A seven-man panel of the apex court, led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili, affirmed the governor’s victory in the March 9, 2019 election after dismissing two separate appeals challenging the outcome of the poll.

Justice Paul Galinje, who delivered the lead judgments in the two appeals, held that they lacked merit.

One of the appeals was filed by Prof. Ifagbemi Awamaridi and his party, the Labour Party (LP), while the other was by Owolabi Salis and his party, the Alliance Democracy (AD).

In upholding Abiodun’s election in Ogun State, the Supreme Court threw out the appeal by Adekunle Akinlade and his party, the All Peoples’ Movement (APM).

In the lead judgment by Justice Peter-Odili, the court held, among others, that the appellants failed to prove the allegations they raised and on which basis they challenged the election.

In the Katsina case, the apex court upheld the submissions of Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) that Governor Bello Masari was eminently qualified for the March 9, 2019 governorship election.

The court also agreed with Fagbemi that the appellant did not challenge the basic qualification of the governor, apart from mere allegations of submitting false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for his clearance for the election.

Justice Peter-Odili, who delivered the lead judgment, held that the appeal by Senator Yakubu Lado, was devoid of merit and substance.

She upheld the concurrent judgment of the tribunal and Appeal Court, which upheld the election of Masari as Katsina State governor.

On Nasarawa State, a seven-man panel, led by Justice Peter-Odili, dismissed the appeal filed by David Ombugadu and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), challenging Sule’s victory at the March 9, 2019 election.

On Kaduna State, the Supreme Court, in a unanimous judgment, held that the appeal filed by Isa Hashiru, candidate of the PDP in the March 9, 2019 governorship election challenging the victory of El-Rufai of the All Progressive Congress (APC), lacked merit. Abiodun hailed the Supreme Court verdict upholding his election.

In a statement in Abeokuta, the state capital, by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Kunle Somorin, the governor described the verdict as victory for the people, democracy, Judiciary and an attestation to the awesomeness of God.

A statement by the Publicity Secretary of APC Caretaker Committee, Tunde Oladunjoye, hailed the party’s leaders at national and state levels for their steadfastness.

Oyo PDP Chairman Kunmi Mustapha said: “We are grateful to God Almighty and the people of Oyo State and lovers of Makinde all over the world for being there for us.”

Emmanuel dedicated his victory to God and the good people of Akwa Ibom State.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ekerete Udoh, the governor said: “Let me again thank our only God, our Supreme God, for securing us this supreme victory and our people for their prayers and support during the elections and throughout the period of litigations. As I said during my victory speech on March 10, 2019, the overwhelming mandate you gave me has galvanised and propelled me to continue to serve you with every fibre in me.”

Sanwo-Olu said his Supreme Court victory is for Lagos residents.  He assured the people that the judicial affirmation of his election victory would further reinforce his desire to vigorously pursue his vision of bequeathing a legacy of a Greater Lagos to the residents at the end of his tenure.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, the governor said he had absolute confidence in the Judiciary, knowing that it would adjudicate on the side of the people of Lagos who freely gave him the mandate to administer the state on their behalf for the four-year tenure.

He said: “As the last hope of the common man, I was never in doubt that the Judiciary would do what is right and what is just. The people of Lagos spoke loudly through their votes on the day of election and their action gave us victory. We remain thankful and indebted to them.”

Sanwo-Olu also thanked the leadership of the APC, his supporters and well-wishers who he said remained steadfast from March 9, 2019, up to this moment.

(The Nation)

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