The Court of Appeal, Abuja, has affirmed the victory of Bala Mohammed of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the March 18 governorship election in Bauchi State.
The appellate court upheld the judgment of the Bauchi State governorship tribunal, which dismissed the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who is a former Chief of Air Staff.
Delivering the Lead Judgment on behalf of the three-member panel, Justice Chidiebere Nwaoma Uwa dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.
Justice Uwa held that the appellants failed to prove their allegation of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The appellants had alleged that the electoral materials were not properly filled in eight local councils of the state.However, the court said the appellants did not call officers of INEC, Supervising and Presiding Officers, to give evidence to prove that the said forms were not filled and why.
Justice Uwa held that though there were blank spaces in some of the forms produced as evidence, it was not substantial enough to cancel the election because the appellants failed to prove what should have been in those spaces. She said: “From the pleadings, the appellants failed to state the specific details, which were to be in the alleged forms, that were not put on the forms.”
The judge said the tribunal did a thorough job in evaluating the evidence and that “the evidence of the petitioners were unreliable.”
“This appeal is hereby dismissed as the appellants failed to prove their case,” Justice Uwa ruled.
Recall that the Bauchi State Governorship Election Tribunal on September 5, 2023, upheld the election of Mohammed as Bauchi State governor. In the judgment delivered by a three-man panel led by Justice P.T Kwahar, the court held that there was no strong reason to nullify the election as it was conducted in compliance with the law. INEC had declared that Mohammed polled 525,280 to beat his closest rival and the candidate of the APC, Abubakar, who polled 432,272.