Darius Ishaku Appeal Court nullifies Mama Taraba's tribunal victory, upholds Governor's election

Ishaku had appealed the tribunal's judgement asking him to vacate his seat.

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Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba state play

Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba state

(Politico Scope)
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The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has upheld the election of Governor Darius Ishaku of the People Democratic Party (PDP) in Taraba State, following the election tribunal verdict which ordered that Aisha Alhassan of the All Progressives Congress (APC) be installed as the duly elected governor of the state.

Ishaku had appealed the tribunal's judgement asking him to vacate his seat.

The appeal court, in a unanimous judgment today, Dec. 31, said that the tribunal had no right to invalidate Ishaku’s election on the premise that he was not validly nominated by the PDP.

The court held that the issue of nomination of a candidate by a political party “is clearly a pre-election matter which no tribunal has the jurisdiction to entertain”, stressing that the APC and Alhassan have no  locus-standi to query the outcome of the governorship primary election of the PDP.

The appellate court led by Justice Abdul Aboky said: “There is no dispute whatsoever in this case that the 1st and 2nd respondents have not said that the appellant is not a member of a political party. From the pleadings and facts, it is obvious that the appellant is a member of the PDP.

“The right to complain is severely limited to participants in the primary election. Whether the primary election was done rightly or wrongly cannot be subject of an election petition. The most important question to be asked here is, was the appellant a member of a political party or sponsored by a party to participate at the election?

“All evidence before the tribunal pointed to the fact that the appellant was duly sponsored by the PDP and INEC duly received his nomination. INEC did not at any time queried his eligibility to participate in the election. “Both oral and documentary evidence before the tribunal clearly showed that the appellate was a member of the PDP and was validly sponsored.

“I hold that the 1st and 2nd respondents have no right to challenge the primary election at which the appellant emerged as none of them is a member of the PDP. “Nomination of a candidate to participate in an election is the sole responsibility of a political party. Issue of nomination of candidate is within the domestic affair of a political party”.

It added that the tribunal “grossly misdirected itself” for not only  nullifying Ishaku’s election, but declaring Alhassan winner of the election.

Justice Aboky said the best the tribunal could have done under section 142 of the constitution was to order for a fresh poll.

 

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