Supreme Court to deliver judgment on Imo, Sokoto guber elections appeals Monday

The Supreme Court will, on Monday, deliver its judgment on the governorship election appeals concerning Imo and Sokoto states.

The Imo state governor, Emeka Ihedioha and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state, both members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were declared winners of the March 9, 2019 governorship elections conducted in Imo and Sokoto states respectively by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The apex court will, in its judgment slated for today determine legitimate winners of the elections after the challengers, Hope Uzodinma and Ahmed Aliyu, both of the All Progressives Congress (APC), lost their appeals at the lower courts.

Uzodinma and Aliyu lost their cases at the Imo and Sokoto governorship election petition tribunals respectively as well as the Court of Appeal.

Members of the PDP in both states are of the hope that the Apex Court would uphold the election of Governors Ihedioha and Tambuwal, while APC members are optimistic that the judgment would be in their favour.

The states whose governorship elections are yet to be decided and their appeals still pending at the Supreme Court are Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano and Plateau.

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Recalled that a five-member panel of justices presided by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, had, last week dismissed the appeals before the Supreme Court and affirmed the elections of governors Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia, PDP); Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta, PDP); Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger, APC); and Darius Ishaku (Taraba, PDP).

In the first judgement on Abia delivered by Justice Adamu Galinje, the apex court held that the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Alex Otti, failed to prove the allegation of over-voting against Ikpeazu and the PDP by relying solely on the card reader.

Ruling on the appeal filed by the APC challenging the election of Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State, Justice Ejembi Eko held that a Federal High Court having disqualified its original candidate, the party had no flag bearer in the March 9 governorship election and ought not to have challenged the election.

On the Niger state appeal brought by PDP’s Umar Mohammed Nasko, Justice Uwani Abba-Aji dismissed the appeal on the grounds that the issue of non-qualification and false information against Governor Bello had become statute-barred having been brought outside the 180 days allowed by law.

She said the apex court cannot interfere with the decision made by the Court of Appeal on the judgement of the Niger State Election Petitions Tribunal, adding that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction on the matter.

In the appeal by Great Ogboru of APC against Governor Okowa of Delta, Justice Cletus Nweze ruled that the appellant dumped documents on the tribunal without demonstrating their relevance to his case.

He held that Ogboru relied too much on hearsay evidence in his allegations of over-voting and other electoral malpractices in the March 9, 2019 governorship election.

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