Supreme Court Affirms Ishaku As Taraba Governor

The Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed that Mr Diarus Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the April 11, 2015 governorship election in Taraba.

 

The Justice Bode-Rhodes Vivor-led six justices of the Supreme Court held that the appeal lacked merit.

 

“We have studied and reviewed the submissions of all the counsel to parties in this appeal and found that there is no merit in the appeal. The decision of the Court of Appeal on this matter is hereby upheld.

 

The reasons for the decision would be adduced on Feb.22 and parties are to bear their costs,’’ he held.

 
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mrs Aisha Alhassan, candidate of the All Progressives Congress had her victory in the election upturned by the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

 
Aisha approached the apex court to challenge the decision of the Court of Appeal.

 

While adopting his address, Mr Abiodu Owonikoko (SAN), Counsel to Alhassan, argued that Ishiaku’s nomination and sponsorship fell below Section 177(c) of the Constitution.

 

NAN reports that that Section of the Constitution set out the requisite elements to meet before an aspirant could become a candidate.

 

Owonikoko submitted that PDP failed to conduct the governorship primaries, adding that Ishiaku’s nomination was a “kangaro arrangement’’.

 

Meanwhile, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), Mr Solo AKuma (SAN), and Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN), Counsel to Ishiaku, PDP and INEC, respectively, urged the court to discountenance Owonikoko’s submission.

 

They contended that the conduct and qualification of a candidate to contest elective position were sole right of the political parties.
They said the qualification of Ishiaku was not in dispute within the party, adding that APC and Alhassan lacked the “locus standi’’ to raise objection on how Ishiaku emerged.

Daudu said: “My Lords the commission has on many platforms held that the primaries that selected Ishiaku as the party’s candidate was properly conducted in Wadata House Abuja’’.

 

They, therefore, jointly prayed the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.

 

(NAN)

Taraba Guber: Ishaku Woos APC Members With Political Appointments, Urges Them To Accept His Confirmation As Governor

Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba on Sunday promised to appoint members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state into political positions.

 
He urged them to accept his confirmation as governor by the Court of Appeal and work with him for development of the state.

 
Ishaku made these remarks in Jalingo while addressing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) loyalists who congratulated him over the victory.

 
The court had upheld the election of Ishaku of the PDP and set aside the state Elections Petitions Tribunal declaration of Sen. Aisha Alhassan of APC as the governor.

 

According to him, there are “many jobs” in his government that can go round the APC members.

 

 

He noted that the series of litigations that followed the April 11, 2015, governorship election had slowed down the pace of development of the state by 30 per cent.

 
“I am calling on all APC members to accept this judgment and come so that we can work together for the socio-economic development of our dear state.

 

“Sincerely speaking, I have so many jobs to share with them. Let them come.

 
“My mandate is for four years but we have spent many months in the court. These litigations are not helping the state,” Ishaku said.

 
The governor said his immediate focus after the victory was to consolidate his effort of bringing peace and development to the state.

 
“I deliberately informed our supporters to celebrate our victory in confinement as against wild jubilation that could trigger violence.

 
“I am glad to hear from the security chiefs here that not a single person was hurt before and after the delivery of the verdict.

 
“My priority remains to develop the state as you can all attest to the fact that there is massive improvement in water and electricity supply in Jalingo.

 
“We intend to now expand our operations to other council areas, focusing more on health and education,” Ishaku said.

 
Earlier, the state PDP Chairman, Mr Victor Bala, said the judgment indicated that the PDP had reclaimed its mandate.

 

 

Credit : Today.ng

Court Of Appeal Upholds Election Of Gov. Ishaku Of Taraba

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Thursday declared that Gov. Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was validly elected in the April gubernatorial elections in Taraba.

 

 

The appellate court set aside the Nov. 7 judgment of the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal for the state which had declared Sen. Aisha Alhassan of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the election.

 

 

The court of appeal panel of five justices, presided over by Justice Abdul Aboki, held that the decision of the tribunal was a nullity.

 

 

Specifically, the appellate court said the tribunal erred in law in its decision that Ishaku was not validly nominated by his party and not qualified ab-initio to contest the April 11 governorship election.

 

 

“We have duly read the submissions made by parties to the appeal and found out that the tribunal erred in its decision.

 

The Electoral Act and in fact the constitution have not given such power to the tribunal to annul the victory of the appellant on the ground of improper conduct of primaries by his party.

 

The PDP has admitted to have sponsored the appellant in its deposition. Therefore, the argument of the APC and its candidate of non-qualification of the PDP candidate are baseless,’’ he said.

 

 

Aboki said that INEC and any aggrieved contestant in the primaries of the party were the ones that had the locus standi to challenge the conduct of the primaries.

 

“INEC is superintendent when it comes to issues of who is qualified to contest an election not the respondent.

 

 

Respondents have no locus standi in this matter. They cannot challenge the primaries because none of them is a member of the PDP.”

 

 

The court further held that nomination of candidate for an election was a domestic affair of a political party and the court had no jurisdiction to interfere in it.

 

 

Aboki held that the appellant met all the statutory conditions to contest the election.

 

 

“By the provision of the Electoral Act, the appellant is a citizen of Nigeria; he has attained the mandatory age of 35 years and he is a bona-fide member of a registered political party – PDP.

 

 

The appellant was sponsored by a registered political party and he has the minimum educational qualification of School Certificate or equivalent,’’ he said.

 

 

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that four other cross-appeals filed by parties were ruled in favour of Ishaku.

 

 

In one of the cross appeals, APC contended that the PDP candidate did not score the mandatory 25 per cent in two-third of the 16 local government areas of the state.

 

 

Justice Aboki, however, dismissed the argument, holding that it was not supported by documentary evidence from the card reader used in the election.

 

He also held that the relief was an after thought because it was not contained in the processes filed before the tribunal.

 

“This appellate court will not allow any fresh matter to be introduced at this juncture. The pleading is hereby struck out for it is academic,’’ the justice said.

 

Speaking to newsmen after the session, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), counsel to Ishaku, expressed delight in the outcome of the appeal.

 

“We know right from time that injustice was done to our client by his removal by the tribunal,’’ he said.

 

 

On his part, Mr Mahmud Magaji (SAN), Counsel to Al-Hassan, said the decision would be further tested at the Supreme Court.

 

 

“We still hold that the governor was not qualified to contest that election,’’ he said.

 

 

(NAN)

Taraba Tribunal Ruling Will Deepen Democracy – VOTAS

The Nigerian Voters Assembly (VOTAS) has said that the recent ruling of the Taraba State election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja, will deepen the nation’s democracy.

The tribunal had declared Senator Aisha Alhassan winner of the April 11 election and ordered the removal the Taraba State governor, Darius Ishaku.
President of the group, Comrade Mashood Erubami, said the tribunal ruling validating Senator Aisha Alhassan as governor-elect of Taraba is in consonant with best standards and conforms with the Electoral Act.
“It is heart warming and timely, coming at a time when Nigerians are looking up to the judiciary to confirm its place among nations upholding the rule of law. It is worthy of note that the judgement trailed other judgements that reversed elections results to rightful winners against those that INEC had earlier declared as witnessed in Rivers and Akwa Ibom States”, he said.
He added: “The number and nature of elections results upheld and reversed is a confirmation that there is new re-orientation among the judges and lots of them are now judging according to law and their consciences. The judgement so far has shown that some of the judgements of the past were not independently delivered and that not all those who were declared winners deserved it”.
Erubami said the judgement affirmed the need for political parties to always adhere to the provisions of the Electoral Act and also revealed that INEC did not perform its duty in respect of party nomination and sponsorship of candidate.
“It INEC had done its job, the sacked governor should have been stopped before the election on the basis of qualification as enshrined in Section 85 and 87 of the Electoral Act. The judgement cleared all doubts and was not in my opinion shrouded in any mysterious declaration that can stand against it at the Appeal, more so, when the issues of jurisdiction and petitioner locus standi have been dismissed by the tribunal at the early stage before the judgement.”

Group Calls For Calm In Taraba Over Tribunal Verdict On Governorship Poll

The Taraba Volunteer Group, a pressure group, has urged residents of the state to shun violence and allow the judiciary handle the tribunal verdict on the election of Gov. Darius Ishaku.

 

Mr Joseph Terence, the Coordinator of the group, made the appeal at a news conference in Jalingo on Friday.
Terence said the call had become necessary following the outbreak of violence in Wukari, Taraba, over the verdict.

 

The coordinator said the group believed that a higher court would reverse the judgment of the Taraba Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which nullified the victory of Ishaku of PDP and declared Aisha Alhassan of APC winner.

 

“We want Taraba people to remain calm and law-abiding despite the tribunal’s ruling. We believe that the appellate court will reverse the ruling because Sen. Alhassan in her petition to the tribunal acknowledged the fact that Ishaku is a member of the PDP and was sponsored by the party,’’ he said.

 

He urged Ishaku not to be discouraged by the judgment but to concentrate on his efforts to restore permanent peace in the state.

 

(NAN)