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Published On: Thu, Dec 19th, 2019

2019 guber: Supreme Court affirms el-Rufai, Umahi, others

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By Vivian Okejeme

The Supreme Court, had yesterday, affirmed the election of Seyi Makinde of Oyo state, Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom States respectively.
Also upheld yesterday, was the elections of Bello Masari of Kastina state Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
The apex court in a unanimous judgment held that the various governors were lawfully elected as governors of their respective states.
The apex court, on Makinde’s election aligned with the submissions of Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, that the majority judgment of the Court of Appeal which nullified the judgment of the Oyo State Election Petition Tribunal was flawed.
In a four-to-one majority judgment the court of appeal had voided the tribunal’s judgment on the grounds that the tribunal decision was perverse because the petitioner , Adebayo Adelabu, of the All Progressive Congress (APC) was denied fair hearing in the matter.
Justice Ejembi Eko, who delivered the lead judgment, held that the majority judgment was not in line with the position of the law, unlike that of the minority judgment which he said was more sober.
Therefore, she allowed the appeal and set aside the judgment of the lower court and restored the decision of the tribunal as prayed by the appellant.
Makinde had appealed the judgment of the Court of Appeal which had set aside the judgment of the tribunal which upheld his election as governor of Oyo State.
In the Katsina case, the apex court upheld the submissions of Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN, that the first respondent, Bello Masari was eminently qualified for the March 9 governorship election.
The court also agreed with Fagbemi that the appellant did not challenge the basic qualification of the governor, other than mere allegations of submitting false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for his clearance for the said election.
Justice Mary Peter-Odili, while delivering the lead judgment held that the appeal by Senator Yakubu Lado, was devoid of merit and substance, and accordingly upheld the concurrent judgment of the tribunal and Appeal Court which upheld the election of Masari as governor of Katsina State.
Others whose election were also upheld, are that of Governor Nasir el-Rufai and Governor Abdullahi Sule, Kaduna and Nasarawa States respectively.
The apex court in its unanimous judgment held that the appeal filed by Isa Hashiru, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 9 governorship election challenging the victory of El-Rufai of the All Progressive Congress (APC) lacked merit.
In the same vern, the court held that appeal by a PDP candidate in Nasarawa State, David Ombugadu against the election of Governor Abdullahi Sule of the APC was also lacking merit.
According to the judgment of the apex court, the appellants in the two different appeals failed to substantiate their claims of irregularities and substantial non compliance with the electoral laws.
It maintained that the two appellants did not show evidence to warrant the setting aside of the concurrent decisions of the tribunal and Appeal Court.
The Supreme Court accordingly upheld the election of both el-Rufai and Sule as Governors of Kaduna and Nasarawa States respectively.
The Apex court also, yesterday upheld the election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
Justice Paul Galinje, who delivered the lead judgments affirmed the governor’s victory at the March 9, 2019 election after dismissing two separate appeals challenging the outcome of the poll.
The court held that the two appeals was lacking in merit.
Others whose election were also affirmed are that of Ogun, and Ebonyi.

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