The Taraba State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Jalingo, state capital, on Saturday, upheld the election of Governor Agbu Kefas of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The governorship candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Prof. Sani Yahaya, and his party had petitioned Tribunal against electoral victory of Kefas and PDP.
The petitioner approached the Tribunal on the grounds that the governorship election held on March 18, 2023 was massively rigged with alleged over-voting, non-compliance with the Electoral Act by INEC and alleged diversion of votes belonging to him and NNPP, to Kefas and PDP.
The NNPP candidate, therefore, sought the nullification Kefas’ victory and, instead, declare him as the lawful winner of the election.
The three-member panel of the Tribunal led by Justics GA Sumonu, however, dismissed the petition for lack of proof of evidence.
Justice Sumonu, while reading the judgement, stated that during the cross-examination, counsel to Prof. Yahaya could not expanciate in detail most of the allegations made against both INEC and Governor Kefas.
“The petitioners have failed to prove to this honourable Tribunal in detail how the election was rigged and why the governorship candidate of the NNPP should be declared the winner in the 18th March 2023 governorship election.
“Since the petitioner failed to prove the ground of over-voting, the petition is hereby struck out on lack of merit,” the Tribunal chairman ruled.
Though counsel to Prof. Sani Yahaya declined comment shortly after the ruling, Governor Kefas described his victory at the Tribunal as a triumph of the people’s will.
The governor, who spoke through his Special Adviser of Media and Digital Communications, Emmanuel Bello, enjoined all citizens of the state and beyond to accept the will of the majority Tarabians, describing it as the work of God.
“This victory belongs exclusively to the Taraba people and all lovers of democracy. I commend the Judiciary for standing true to their calling and upholding what is right and just,” the governor was quoted as saying.