The battles for government houses in the states are shifting to the appeal courts as some governorship candidates have indicated interest to press their cases further after the verdicts of the election petition tribunals did not go in their favour, our correspondents report.
Daily Trust reports that some candidates who contested in the March 9, governorship elections this year had challenged the outcomes of the polls at the tribunals. Most of the tribunals have delivered their judgements.
Reports from our correspondents revealed that most of the petitioners are heading to the Court of Appeal to challenge the judgements of the tribunals.
In Katsina, the governorship candidate of PDP, Yakubu Lado Danmarke, through his lawyer, has indicated interest to challenge the outcome of the tribunal at the appeal court.
The Katsina State Governorship election petitions tribunal had upheld the election of Governor Aminu Masari as the duly elected governor. Lado had challenged Masari’s election on two grounds. He claimed that Masari had no prerequisite qualifications to contest and that, the election was marred with malpractices.
Daily Trust reports that there was a split judgement, with two of the judges namely Justice EB Omotoso and Justice AI Ityonyiman upholding the election, while Justice Hadiza Ali Jos, the chairman of the tribunal ruled otherwise.
Masari’s lawyer, Hassan Liman SAN, said the judgement has laid to rest the claims that the governor lacked the qualification to contest and that he was not duly elected.
Lado’s Lawyer, Gordy Uche SAN, said they were happy with the judgement given the fact that the minority one had vindicated their assertion that the respondent had no grounds to contest the election.
“We will go to the Court of Appeal against the majority decision. If our opponents feel they need to go on appeal on the minority decision. It is their right. Both of us will meet at the appeal court,” he said.
In Kaduna, the PDP governorship candidate, Isa Ashiru, is set to appeal the verdict of the tribunal which favoured the state governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai.
Ashiru’s party said they were confidence of winning at the Court of Appeal.
The Deputy Director, Media and Publicity, Isa Ashiru Campaign Organisation Yakubu Lere told Daily Trust that the party is in the process of appealing the tribunal judgment.
Counsel to El-Rufai, Abdulhakeem Mustapha, SAN, had said PDP will also fail at the appeal court, adding that the tribunal judgment was based on facts and the law.
In Niger, counsel to the petitioners the PDP, Umar Nasko, Mohammed Ndayako, said their case was knocked out on technical grounds.
Ndayako, who was the running mate to Nasko, said the petitioners will carefully study the judgment before deciding the next line of action.
For his part, the governorship candidate of the APC in Cross River State, Senator John Owan-Enoh, whose petition against Governor Ben Ayade was dismissed by the election petition tribunal has expressly indicated that he will proceed to the appeal court to seek further redress.
Also, the candidate of Allied Peoples Movement’s (APM) governorship candidate in the 2019 election in Ogun State, Adekunle Akinlade, has expressed hope in an appeal against the election petitions tribunal which dismissed his petition against Governor Dapo Abiodun’s victory.
Already, he said his legal team had applied for Certified True Copy (CTC) of the election petitions tribunal judgment with a view to determining the next line of action.
However, it’s a different scenario in Gombe as the three petitioners that challenged the election of Governor Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya have withdrawn their petitions since April 25, a month to his inauguration.