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Tribunal confirms Dankwambo as Gombe Governor; as Appeal Court uphold Ajimobi’s election

The Nigerian Justice System
The Nigerian Justice System

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Gombe, Wednesday, upheld the return of Ahaji Ibrahim Dankwambo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the duly elected governor of Gombe State.

This is also as the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, Wednesday, unanimously struck out the petition filed by the Oyo State governorship candidate of the Accord Party, Senator Rashidi Ladoja against the state Governor Abiola Ajimobi of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The court also ruled that the grounds for appeal was incompetent.

Delivering judgement on the petition filed by the APC and its gubernatorial candidate in the state, Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Mohammad Sirajo, held that the petitioners had not mustered enough evidence to prove their allegations of electoral malpractice and irregularity.

He said that the allegations of violence during the election, over-stuffing and snatching of ballot boxes as well as falsification of results, were criminal in nature that needed to be proved “beyond all reasonable doubts”.

The Chairman noted that the petitioners had failed to discharge their responsibility of providing enough proof that would warrant the granting of their prayers.

He therefore dismissed the petition for lack of merit and upheld the return of Dankwambo as the governor of the state.

In his reaction after the verdict, counsel to the petitioners, Barr. Abdulganiyu Bello, said he would consult with his clients to decide on the next line of action.

“We are all members to the temple of justice; I urge our supporters to take it easy, this is just the first step,” he told newsmen.

However, Counsel to Gov. Dankwambo who was the First Respondents, Barr Zubairu Mohammed, hailed the verdict, describing it as fair..

“We deserve the victory because all the grounds of petition were very weak”

“We are grateful to Almighty God for seeing us through to the end of this case,” he said.

Barr.Yahaya Dangana, counsel to the third Respondents, INEC, said the judgment was a clear vindication of his client.

Yahaya and his party, the APC, were challenging the returned of Dankwambo as the elected governor in the April 11 general elections.

Meanwhile, the five-man panel of the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, Wednesday unanimously struck out the petition filed by the Oyo State governorship candidate of the Accord Party, Sen. Rashidi Ladoja.

Ladoja had approached the court to challenge the ruling of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ibadan.

The tribunal had on Aug. 18 struck out an application filed by Ladoja seeking the leave of the court to call in a forensic analyst to tender the report made on the inspection of ballot papers and ballot boxes.

Ladoja had filed a petition challenging the declaration of Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of APC as the winner of the April 11 governorship election in Oyo State.

But in the ruling, the court headed by Justice M. Saulawa dismissed the entire case and upheld the ruling of the tribunal.

“Handing a different ruling will be an exercise in futility. The appeal is dismissed in its entirety and the ruling of the lower tribunal on Aug. 18 is upheld,” Saulawa said.

Furthermore,  the application to incorporate a fresh issue by the appellant was also dismissed by the court.

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