Governorship Election Petition Tribunals issued what may be described as significant decisions across the states this week.
So yet, the tribunal has only fired one governor. Others had their triumphs recognized, at least for the time being.
Some states were won by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The tribunal affirmed the PDP’s victories in Plateau, Bauchi, Enugu, and Zamfara States last week, dismissing complaints submitted before it by the APC and the Labour Party.
In Plateau, the tribunal upheld Governor Caleb Mutfwang’s election as the state’s legitimately elected governor.
A three-member tribunal panel chaired by Justice Sunday dismissed the petition brought by the APC and its Governorship candidate, Nentawe Yiltwatda, as meritless.
Similarly, the court upheld Senator Bala Mohammed’s election as the legitimately elected governor of Bauchi State. The decision was made by a three-member panel led by P.T Kwahar.
The tribunal dismissed the case filed by the APC and its candidate, Sadique Abubakar, a former Chief of Air Staff, challenging Mohammed’s re-election to a second term.
SAREWA HAUSA further reports that the PDP kept its triumph in Enugu after the panel validated Governor Peter Mbah’s election.
The petitions of the Labour Party and its candidate, Chijioke Edeoga, were dismissed by a three-member tribunal panel chaired by Justice Kudirat Murayo, who stated that they could not be proven.
In Zamfara State, the tribunal dismissed the APC’s and its governorship candidate, Bello Matawalle’s, suit disputing the PDP’s announcement of Dauda Lawal as the winner of the 18 March governorship election.
The tribunal ruled that the APC failed to prove its claim that the results from Maradun Local Government were excluded and that the election was not held in various wards across the state.
The APC, on the other hand, recaptured control in Kano State from the New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP, and also retained its victory in Benue State.
In Benue, the tribunal dismissed the suit of the PDP and its governorship candidate, Titus Uba, disputing the outcome of the March 18 gubernatorial election, which resulted in the victory of Governor Hyacinth Alia.
The sacking of the NNPP in Kano State was the most stunning of the recent rulings issued by the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in various states.
The NNPP lost its single governorship seat in Kano to the ruling party after the tribunal ousted Governor Yusuf Abba and pronounced Nasir Gawuna of the APC the winner of the March 18 election.
The three-judge panel chaired by Oluyemi Asadebay issued the decision on Wednesday, ostensibly for security reasons. Over 165,663 votes in favor of the NNPP were declared illegitimate by the court.
The court deducted the invalid votes because the voting papers (165,663) were neither stamped or signed, making them void.
According to the tribunal, the petitioner has substantiated the accusation of the illegality of part of the votes cast since the election did not comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act of 2022.
According to the SAREWA HAUSA, the situation in Kano State has heightened tensions in Abia State, where the ruling party is likewise attempting to undermine the current governor, Alex Otti of the Labour Party.
According to reports, the Abia State Election Petition Tribunal has scheduled a hearing on the petition challenging Mr Otti’s declaration as the March 18 winner for October 6, 2023.
Chief Ikechi Emenike, the APC’s gubernatorial candidate, had asked the court to demand Otti’s dismissal over claims of failing to withdraw from the ruling party before joining the Labour Party before to the 2023 general elections.
Otti’s name, according to the APC candidate, was not in the Labour Party register prior to his nomination as the party’s governorship candidate in the state.
The petition was also signed by PDP candidate Okey Ahaiwe, Nana Nwafor of the Young Progressives Party, and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The fear is not unrelated to the fact that the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal in Umuahia recently fired three House of Representatives members elected on the Labour Party ticket.
Mr Ceekay Igara, Chairman of the Labour Party in Abia State, told DAILY POST on Saturday that the ruling party is allegedly attempting to undermine Otti’s victory.
“It’s as if the APC bought the court because they struck out a document and then when they were rounding up, they exhumed the case about the same document that they previously struck out,” he added.
“The judges are now relying on that case, and these are issues that have been resolved in the appeal court.”
“It is obvious that the court has already given them all of our seats.” Aside from the governorship, they have given all senate and House of Representative seats to the opposition.”
He did, however, express confidence that the governor would prevail in court.
“I believe he will win. One thing is certain: you cannot shave a man’s hair while he is not present. They cannot make a decision based on anything other than what was provided to them. In most of the cases, I was also a witness.
“Before they brought the issue of NYSC, all of the cases were focused on election issues.” “I’m sure they can’t do anything else,” he explained.
In response, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, informed SAREWA HAUSA that the party expects Governor Otti to be fired.
He stated that the PDP “presented a good case in Abia, and we expect the tribunal to deliver a good judgement in our favor.”
Debo stated that the PDP’s victories in Zamfara, Bauchi, Enugu, and Plateau were in keeping with the choices made by the electorates during the election.
“Like you always hear from our party’s presidential candidate, we respect the judges and their decisions, so we welcome their verdicts,” he stated.
“They are consistent with what happened at the polling stations on election day.”
“We celebrate because that is the will of the people.”