By DEMOLA AKINYEMI
ILORIN — The Supreme Court, in a unanimous verdict, yesterday, upheld the election of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State of Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, and dismissed the appeal brought before it by the gubernatorial candidate of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Mr. Dele Belgore, SAN, in the April 2011 gubernatorial election.
Belgore questioned some aspects of the Appeal Court’s judgment as perverse, and asked the apex court to set aside the decision and consequently nullify the election of Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed and declare him the duly elected governor of Kwara State.
However, Gov. Ahmed argued that the appeal lacked proof of substantial non-compliance and contained vague, general and generic submissions.
In the lead judgment read by Justice F. F. Tabai, the court affirmed the judgments of the lower courts, agreeing that “the appeal lacks in merit and hereby dismissed without cost”.
The five justices also agreed that Belgore was unable to prove lack of substantial non- compliance with the Electoral Act as only few of the 895 polling units being challenged were demonstrated.
In his reaction, former Kwara State governor, Senator Bukola Saraki, charged Gov. Ahmed to use the Supreme Court victory to propel him to deliver more dividends of democracy to the people of the state who stood by him during election and all through the court cases.
Meanwhile, Belgore, in his reaction, said he and his party have accepted the judgment in good faith.
“As law-abiding citizens and members of a political party with profound respect for the rule of law and public peace and order, we accept the decision of the Supreme Court which is the highest court in the land.”
Belgore said in a statement by his media aide, Rafiu Ajakaye.
He however said the struggle for a better Kwara State continues and urged the people to remain steadfast, irrespective of the position of the apex court.
“Whilst the legal battle is over, the quest for freedom and the fight to bring meaningful and good governance to the people of Kwara State continues.
“We salute the courage of the good people of Kwara State who stood firm behind the campaign for a better state. Even though we did not get the ultimate prize, together, with their unwavering support and courage, we have changed the political map of Kwara State forever.
“The ruling of the Supreme Court notwithstanding, we assure fellow Kwara people that there is no going back on our well-reasoned resolve to banish poor governance, impunity and anti-people political leadership in our state.
’’We will redouble our efforts. We therefore call on our supporters and all well-meaning people who have the love of Kwara State at heart to continue to support our cause. Winners do not quit, and the struggle to change the face of Kwara State for good does not terminate today. It continues until victory is won and our people liberated. It shall be daybreak in Kwara State soon.”