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Govs in joyful mood as Supreme Court rejects challengers’ cases

The Supreme Court on Friday affirmed the election of six more governors.

The governors are Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, Uba Sani of Kaduna; Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe; Nasir Idris of Kebbi,  Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, and Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State.

The apex court had last Friday delivered judgment on Plateau, Lagos, Abia, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Zamfara, Ebonyi, and Kano governorship appeals.

This sums up the resolved election appeals to 15.  In all the decided cases so far, no governor has been sacked from office.

Reading the lead judgment in the Nasarawa appeal, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun held that the appeal by David Ombugadu of the PDP lacked merit.

She, however, affirmed the election of the governor of Abdullahi Sule.

She said, “The issues in this appeal are resolved against the appellant. The appeal lacks merit and it is hereby dismissed.”

Sule was sacked as the governor by the tribunal but reinstated at the Court of Appeal.

Similarly, the apex court dismissed the appeal by the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Ovie Omo-Agege, and the Labour Party and its candidate, Ken Pella as well as the appeal by Kenneth Gbagi of the Social Democratic Party against the Delta state governor, Sheriff Oborevwori.

In the Omo-Agege’s appeal, the five-member panel led by Justice John Okoro said the appeal lacked merit and the appellant was unable to discharge the burden of proof placed on him.

Okoro held that subtracting the total number of votes mentioned in the result sheets complained about by Omo-Agege wouldn’t be sufficient to remove the governor from office.

Gbagi and Pella’s appeals were dismissed for lack of merit.

The court of appeal in Lagos had affirmed the election of Sheriff Oborevwori as the governor of Delta state, dismissing the appeals by the governorship candidates and their parties

The election of the Ogun state governor, Dapo Abiodun was also affirmed.

The appellants, Ladi Adebutu, and the Peoples Democratic Party prayed to the apex court to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct fresh elections in the 99 polling units where elections were allegedly cancelled.

 The Appeal Court, Lagos Division, had in a split decision on November 24, 2023, affirmed the re-election of Dapo Abiodun as the duly elected governor of Ogun State.

 The majority judgment delivered by Justice Joseph Ikyegh dismissed the appeal filed by PDP and its governorship candidate, Oladipupo Adebutu.

 Reading the lead judgment, Justice Tijani Abubakar dismissed the appeal.

Equally, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal by the PDP and its candidate, Mohammed Isa, declaring Uba Sani as the duly elected governor of Kaduna state.

 Reading the lead judgment, Justice Tijani Abubakar held that the appellant had nothing useful to ask the court.

 He described the appeal as vexatious, frivolous, and lacking in merit.

Abubakar upheld the judgment of the lower courts, affirming the election of the governor.

 The re-election of the Gombe state governor, Inuwa Yahaya was also upheld

 The apex court dismissed the appeal by the PDP and its candidate, Jibrin Barde.

In the Kebbi governorship appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the election of Nasir Idris as governor.

 Aminu Bande of the PDP had alleged that there was over-voting in some polling units and that Idris was not qualified to contest the election.

 Delivering the judgment, the court held that the appeal lacked merit and was subsequently dismissed.

In a related development, aged women, including widows, on Friday afternoon, staged a protest in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital to express their displeasure over the Supreme Court’s Judgment which affirmed the election of Governor Abdullahi Sule of the All Progressives Congress.

Observation by our correspondent on Friday indicated that many roads in the state capital had been blocked including the ever busy Lafia -Jos road due to series of protests by the women groups.

Motorists had to take alternative routes to pass out of Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.

 An automobile mechanic who identified himself as Mallam Dogo Audu called for the deployment of more security operatives to restore calm.

 Shops, business centres, and schools within the state capital had also closed for the day due to the protests.

However, no fewer than 30 aged women, including widows and eight men of Nasarawa State origin were on Friday arrested by the police while protesting the outcome of the Supreme Court Judgment which affirmed Governor Abdullahi Sule as winner of the March 18, 2023 governorship election in the state.

 Confirming the development, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Ramhan Nansel, said apart from the 38 suspects arrested by the command, 29 motorcycles were recovered by its personnel during the protests which took place in Lafia, the state capital.

In a related development, Governor Sule of Nasarawa State said the protests in Lafia, the state capital, would not change the Supreme Court’s position, which affirmed him as governor and voided the nullification of his election by the Appeal Court.

Sule spoke to State House correspondents after an audience with President Bola Tinubu at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, on Friday.

Reacting to the Supreme Court judgment, Governor Abiodun said that his administration would keep its eyes on further development of the state, following his Supreme Court victory on Friday.

 The governor said all attempts to distract his administration had failed, noting that the Supreme Court victory marked an end to court shopping by his political adversaries.

 Abiodun stated this in an interview with journalists at the Gateway International Airport, Iperu-Remo, on his arrival from Abuja.

 He called on the governorship candidate of the PDP, Ladi Adebutu, and other political adversaries to get ready for another election in 2027.

Similarly, Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State applauded the Supreme Court judgment affirming his victory as duly elected governor at the March 18, 2023 election in the state.

The governor in his verified X handle (formerly Twitter), shortly after the ruling on Friday, said the apex court in its unanimous judgment had put a final seal on the mandate freely given to him by the people of the state

He said, “With the legal disputations over, it is time for us to join hands to take Kaduna State to a higher level. We are running a people-centered, inclusive and pro-development administration.”

Meanwhile, Governor Oborevwori of Delta State has called on candidates of the opposition parties in the state governorship election to team up with him to develop the state.

He said that he had much number of election cases more than any other governor in Nigeria.

Oborevweri, who disclosed this at the thanksgiving service at the Government House Chapel after the judgment, said the victory was for Delta State.

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