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Appeal court fixes Wednesday for Nasarawa guber dispute

There are high expectations as the Court of Appeal has fixed Wednesday, 15th November for the hearing in the appeal filed by Nasarawa State Governor…

There are high expectations as the Court of Appeal has fixed Wednesday, 15th November for the hearing in the appeal filed by Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule, who is fighting to reject the majority judgement of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lafia which ruled in favour of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), David Ombugadu.
This was contained in the notice of hearing issued to the parties in the case by Nasiru Alhassan, Electronic Desk Officer of the court and obtained by Daily Trust in Lafia on Sunday.
The notice, which reads said, “Hearing in the case will commence by 9 am at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division.”
Our correspondent reports that Sule had approached the Court of Appeal challenging the position of the governorship petition tribunal on his re-election.
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The governor, however, filed the Notice of Appeal through his lead Counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN on Sunday, October 15, 2023.
It would be recalled that the governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Lafia, had in a split judgement, recently declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s candidate, Mr David Ombugadu, as the lawful winner of the March 18 governorship election in the state.
A dissenting ruling by one of the three judges, however, upheld the election of Governor Sule.
Governor Sule rejected the majority judgement read by the tribunal chairman, Justice Ezekiel Ajayi, describing its position as unmeritorious and devoid of evidential support base or pillars, even as vowed to appeal the decision.
According to the notice of Appeal, the governor listed 27 grounds of appeals for determination by the appellate court.
Among others, he questioned the trial tribunal’s jurisdictional competence to order the immediate swearing-in of Ombugadu as the governor, pointing out that not being the final court, the tribunal lacks the requisite competence to do so.
He also averred that the majority decision of the lower Tribunal in declaring the return of PDP’s Ombugadu failed to be bound by the provisions of Section 179 (2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution as Amended and Section 66 of the Electoral Act 2022.
He equally emphasized that there was no evidence before the tribunal demonstrating the percentage of votes scored by Ombugadu vis-a-vis the total votes cast in two-thirds of the 13 Local Government Areas of the State to satisfy the provisions of Section 179(2) of the 1999 Constitution as Amended.
Sule, therefore, urged the Appellate Court to set aside the decision of the lower court and affirm his election victory as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Our correspondent also reports that Ombugadu, PDP, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) as 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th respondents were part of those who joined in the appeal.

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