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Why Supreme Court narrowly affirmed Fintiri as Adamawa governor

The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, January 21 has narrowly affirmed the election of Ahmadu Fintiri of the People Democratic Party(PDP) as Governor of Adamawa State.

In a unanimous judgement read by Justice Dattijo Muhammad, the seven-member panel of the court held that the two lower courts were right to affirm Mr Fintiti’s election.

Subsequently, Justice Muhammad dismissed the appeal.

The appeal was filed by the All Progressive Congress( APC) candidate, Bindow Jibrilla, challenging the March 9, 2019 governorship election.

Jibrilla is the immediate past governor of the state.

He had asked the Supreme Court to set aside the concurrent decisions of the tribunal and the Court of Appeal which had dismissed his petition against the election of Fintiri for lacking in merit.

Jibrilla had anchored his appeal on grounds of alleged over-voting in 385 out of the 2609 polling units in the state. He also alleged noncompliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Fintiri the winner of the election after he polled 376, 552 against his closest challenger, Jibrilla, who scored 336, 386 votes.

In his argument before the apex court through his lawyer, Goddy Uche, Jibrilla submitted that the total invalid votes to be deducted from the PDP is 82,038 while the total invalid votes to be deducted from the APC is 33, 716.

With these figures, if those invalid votes are deducted, the APC would be left with 302,670, bringing the PDP to second place with 294,514 votes.

Uche urged the court to set aside the concurrent decisions of the two lower courts as they are “perverse”.

But in its decision on Tuesday, the seven-member of the apex court, held that the appellants have failed to prove their case.

Justice Muhammed said: “For a petitioner whose petition is grounded on over voting to succeed, he must establish that the votes cast at the specified polling units are more than the number of those accredited to vote”

“I have considered the evidence of the witnesses relied upon by the appellants particularly the tables in the result of the election in the polling units the appellants alleged over voting had taken place. Columns indicating the number of voters accredited to vote as marked in the voter’s register of the affected polling unit are completely omitted from the tables the appellants insist the two courts failed to utilize which this court should fall back on.

“The appellant in the absence of these overriding facts from the preview of evidence he made, cannot be said to have established the grounds of the petition, I so hold.

“The two courts below are right to have held that the appellant having not made out his case, does not deserve to succeed. It is thereby further dismissed.

“The second respondent’s declaration and return as duly elected governor of Adamawa State is hereby further affirmed.”

Source: Premium Times

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Abdullahi Hammed

Abdullahi Hammed was born in Kano State, Nigeria. A journalist by profession for the past five years. He Studied Mass Communication at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State. Contact: [email protected]

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