By Henry Umoru & Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — The Supreme Court, yesterday, affirmed Governor Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the valid winner of the governorship election the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, conducted in the state on April 11, 2015.
The apex court, in a unanimous judgment by a seven-man panel of justices, dismissed the appeal lodged before it by the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its gubernatorial flag-bearer in the state, Senator Aisha Jumai Alhassan, as lacking in merit.
The Supreme Court said it was satisfied with the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja which earlier upheld the election victory of governor Ishaku.
By its judgment, yesterday, the apex court concurred with the position of a five-man panel of justices of the appellate court to the effect that the Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal “grossly misdirected itself,” when it not only sacked Governor Ishaku, but went ahead to declare the APC candidate, Alhassan, as winner of the poll.
National leadership of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in its reaction, said with the judgment, the judiciary had shown that it remained the window of hope for democracy to strive in the country.
Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, also commended the judgment, saying it conformed with the court’s precedents on nomination of candidates by political parties.
Though Justice Suleiman Galadima headed the Supreme Court panel that heard the appeal, yesterday, it was, however, Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour that delivered the lead verdict.
According to Justice Rhodes-Vivour, “I am of the firm view that there is no merit in this appeal and it is, hereby, dismissed. The judgment of the Court of Appeal is affirmed and the election of Governor Darius Ishaku is, hereby, upheld.”
Meanwhile, the apex court panel, reserved its reasons for upholding governor Ishaku’s election till February 22.
Judiciary remains window of hope for democracy —PDP
In a statement, yesterday, by PDP Acting National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, the PDP warned the APC to stop insulting and castigating the judiciary.
He said: “We, therefore, warn APC and the Federal Government to stop insulting judiciary as there is nowhere in the world that a ruling party goes about hauling abuses on the judiciary.”
Secondus noted that with the ruling of the Supreme Court in favour of PDP’s gubernatorial flag bearer, Darius Ishaku, all hope was not yet lost for democracy.
According to Secondus, the Supreme Court ruling not only establishes the judiciary as a utility arm in stabilizing the nation’s polity but also as the voice of the voiceless.
It conforms with the court’s precedents
Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, commended the decision of the Supreme Court, adding that it conformed with the precedents of the court on candidates’ nomination by political parties.
He said: “I want to congratulate my brother, Ishaku, on this well deserved victory and commend the Supreme Court for standing solidly on the side of truth and for preserving the sanctity of the ballot box. One can say that in the apex court, the people’s mandate has found refuge, once again.
“Importantly, the judgment is in line with the Supreme Court’s established precedents, including the recent cases of Zamfara and Benue States.”