The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has reserved judgment in the three appeals and cross appeal that emanated from the judgment of the Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, reports Thisdaylive.
The tribunal, which sat in Abuja following the security concerns in the north-eastern region of the country, had in its judgment 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 any political party as required by law.
The unanimous judgment of the Musa Danladi Abubakar-led Tribunal, in a petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Hajiya Aisha Jumai Alhassan held that the purported nomination of the sacked governor by PDP breached Section 85 of the Electoral Act 2010 and ordered the governor to vacate office.
However, Ishaku having been dissatisfied with the judgment, filed an appeal, asking the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the Tribunal which dismissed him from office and handed the governorship to his opponent Aisha Jummai Alhassan.
When the matter came up yesterday, the Counsel to the Governor, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), in his appeal urged the court to set aside the judgment of the Tribunal.
Agabi noted that the appeal ought not to have come up because it was not attached with any valid witness statement.
Agabi said there is nothing to show on the deposition of the witnesses that any fee was paid and not a single of the deposition was signed by the Commissioner for oath.
According to him, “When a petitioner alleges that an election was marred by irregularities and he goes ahead to claim victory, that petition ought to have been dismissed”.
He said a star witness of the petitioner admitted before the Tribunal that the appellant (Ishaku) was sponsored by his party, PDP and prayed the court to allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the Tribunal.
Counsel to Aisha Alhassan and her party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN) submitted that there was no primary election by the PDP to elect the appellant as its candidate in the election, a submission, he said was affirmed by the Tribunal and urged the court to uphold the judgment of the Tribunal.
Replying on point of law, Chief Agabi said there was evidence that there was a primary election by the PDP which produce Governor Ishaku as its governorship candidate in the Taraba election.
The five member panel led by Justice Abdul Aboky reserved ruling of the Court on a date that will be conveyed to parties in the matter.
Similarly, the court also reserved ruling in the appeal brought before it by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the appeal by the PDP as well as the cross appeal by Hajia Alhassan, after parties adopted all their processes.
INEC, represented by Joseph Daudu (SAN) told the court that the electoral commission validly approve the sponsorship of Governor Ishaku and that he contested the elected and urged court to allow the appeal.