Two candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Taraba State, Batulu Mohammed, and Abel Peter, have retained their seats for Gashaka State Constituency and Mbamnga Constituency, respectively.
This follows the judgment of the Taraba Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Jalingo, the state capital, on Monday, September 18, 2023.
The Herald reports that the tribunal presided over by Justice Benson Ogbu upturned the victory of Nuhu Akila of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the court sitting yesterday.
Ogbu also dismissed two cases against elected members of the APC at the Taraba State House of Assembly, while a petition against Akila of the PDP was granted in favour of the petitioner, Emmanuel George of the APC.
In a late-night ruling, the judge ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to retrieve the certificate of return from Akila and return it to Emmanuel George of the APC.
The suits instituted at the Tribunal are against Batulu Mohammed of the APC for Gashaka State Constituency by Umar Gayam of the PDP and Emma Bongo of the PDP against Abel Peter of the APC for Mbamnga State Constituency, this news platform understands.
The petitions were on two grounds which include: non-qualification and non-compliance to the Electoral Act, which were dismissed by the Tribunal. In the suit by Mohammed Gayam of the PDP, counsel to the respondent, Mohammed Bashir, said the petition was dismissed for “lack of merit”.
“The Tribunal entered judgment for the respondent that there was substantial non-compliance as alleged by the petitioners. So the tribunal dismissed the petition for lacking in merit because they were unable to prove their case,” Bashir stated.
Speaking after the Tribunal’s verdict on Monday night, an elated Emmanuel George expressed his pleasure over the judgement, saying the court affirmed he indeed won the well-contested poll.
“Justice has prevailed. We have said earlier that we have won a majority of the lawful votes that were cast.
“It was sorted and counted out in the full glare of the public, and the Tribunal has affirmed that I am the true winner of that election. They went ahead to say INEC should retrieve the certificate of return and also return me immediately,” he said.