How Tribunal Sacked Taraba Gov Ishaku To Declare APC’s Aisha Alhassan Nigeria’s First Female Gov…It’s A Political Judgment- Fayose
The Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal earlier today sacked the governor of the state, Mr. Darius Dickson Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the ground that he was not sponsored by PDP or any political party as required by law.
In a declaratory judgment, the tribunal ordered the governor to vacate office for the APC candidate, Hajiya Aisha Jumai Alhassan who scored the second highest votes in the April 11, 2015 election to be sworn-in.
Delivering a unanimous judgment in a petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Hajia Aisha Jumai Alhassan, the tribunal chairman, Musa Danladi Abubakar ordered that the APC candidate be sworn-in having scored the second largest votes in the governorship election.
In the unanimous judgment that lasted about three hours, the tribunal Chairman, Musa Danladi Abubakar held that the purported nomination of the sacked governor by PDP breached section 85 of the Electoral Act 2010.
The tribunal held that it was a fundamental law in Nigeria that a candidate for an elective position must be duly nominated and sponsored by a registered political party before the candidature of such candidate can be legally valid.
In the instant case, the tribunal said that there was overwhelming evidence that PDP in Taraba State did not do any primary election that could have led to emergence of anybody as a sponsored candidate.
The tribunal recalled the evidence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on subpoena during the hearing of the petition when the Commission claimed that it has no record of any primary election by PDP in Taraba State whereas Section 85 of the Electoral Act made it mandatory that INEC must be given 21 days notice of a convention or a primary where candidates are to be nominated for election.
The tribunal therefore said that since Darius Ishaku was not sponsored by any known registered political party, he cannot lay claim to votes cast for any political party and cannot as well claim to be an independent candidate in the election. The APC and its governorship candidate had challenged the victory and declaration of Governor Darius Ishaku as winner of the April 11 election in the state by INEC .
At the hearing, counsel to the petitioners Mr. Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN) adopted his final written addresses and urged the tribunal to return the 1st petitioner, Alhassan, as the elected governor of the state. However, counsel to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents in their unanimous submissions prayed the court to dismiss the petition, describing it as lacking in merit.
In his closing argument, counsel to the PDP, Solomon Akuna (SAN), also prayed that the petition be dismissed because the petitioners have not proved their case. The tribunal Chairman, Justice Musa Danladi Abubakar, thereafter fixed today for judgment.
In a swift reaction, Ekiti State governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose described the tribunal judgement as a ridiculous political judgement that can never stand before men of good conscience and God. Governor Fayose, who maintained that there was a conspiracy by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government and a section of the judiciary against the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), called on the Supreme Court to save the country from impending anarchy.
In a statement issued today, the governor wondered how a tribunal could make conduct of the PDP primary that produced Governor Ishaku in Abuja an issue when the tribunal itself sat in Abuja. He said; “How does the emergence of party candidate, which is the clear internal business of the party and a pre-election matter concern the APC and the Election Tribunal?
“Isn’t it funny that it is no longer about election rigging, but technicality of how PDP candidates emerged even when no one in the PDP went to court to challenge how Governor Ishaku emerged as the PDP governorship candidate? If insecurity could make Taraba State Tribunal sit in Abuja and not in Jalingo, how then can it be justified that the same tribunal that sat in Abuja nullified the governor’s election because the primary election that produced him too was held in Abuja?
“Is it not being manifested in this President Mohammadu Buhari led APC government that what is good for some people may not be good for others even though we operate the same constitution? To me and the teeming supporters of the PDP, this judgement is one that must not be allowed to stand. It is a clear miscarriage of justice and we will seek redress from the court of men and the court of God.”
While reiterating his commitment to speaking the truth in the overall interest of Nigerians, Governor Fayose said; “If everybody is persecuted and intimidated to submission, I will remain resolute in my resolve to always say the truth before men and God.”