The Court of Appeal overturned the judgement of the Nasarawa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which had declared David Ombugadu, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the winner of the governorship election.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Thursday reversed the earlier decision of the election petition tribunal removing Abdullahi Sule as Nasarawa State governor.
A three-member panel of the appellate court affirmed the governor’s election in its unanimous decision.
It overturned the judgement of the Nasarawa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which had declared David Ombugadu, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the winner of the governorship election.
Mr Sule of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was initially declared the winner of the 18 March polls by Nigeria’s electoral commission, INEC.
But Mr Ombugadu challenged the election outcome at the tribunal, arguing that he won majority of valid votes during the contest.
Deciding the appeal filed by Governor Sule challenging the tribunal’s verdict, the Court of Appeal held that Mr Sule was validly elected as Nasarawa State governor.
The appellate court panel led by Uchechukwu Onyemenam said Mr Ombugadu failed to prove his allegation of over-voting levelled against Mr Sule.
Mr Onyemenam said the Nasarawa State Election Petition Tribunal was wrong to have concluded that Mr Sule did not score majority of the valid votes cast in the election.
The justice dismissed the lower court’s majority decision, but upheld the dissenting judgment.
Mr Sule scored a total of 347,209 votes to beat his closest challenger, Mr Ombugadu, who garnered 283,016 votes.
However, on 2 October, a three-member tribunal led by Ezekiel Ajayi in a split judgement of two to one, declared Mr Ombugadu the validly elected governor of Nasarawa State.
Evaluating the evidence before the panel, Mr Ajayi held that Mr Ombugadu tendered the results of the various polling stations and forms EC 8A and substantiated his claim that polls results were manipulated in favour of Mr Sule.
Another member of the tribunal, Chiemelie Onaga, concurred with the lead judgement read by Mr Ajayi.
But in the dissenting decision Ibrahim Mashi, a member of the tribunal dismissed Mr Ombugadu’s suit for lacking in merit.