Nigerian voters may have moved on after the conclusion of the last general election, but some politicians who did not get a favourable outcome are still in court slugging it out with their opponents through legal battles.
After the elections, no fewer than 552 petitions emanating from dissatisfied political parties and their candidates were filed before tribunals.
The high volume of petitions made many Nigerians question the integrity of the election. Interestingly, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is a respondent in all the cases filed.
As courts across the nation continue to hear and adjudicate on the many post-election petitions before them, here are the newly elected and re-elected governors whose electoral successes have been affirmed.
On Monday, the election petition tribunal sitting in Sokoto State upheld the victory of Dauda Lawal, the governor of Zamfara State.
Lawal was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the election held on March 18, scoring 377,726 to defeat Bello Matawalle of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who scored 311,976.
The court, comprising of a panel of three judges, did not only affirm Lawal’s declaration as the winner of the contest but also awarded a fine of N500,000 in his favour.
On August 16, an Abuja appeal court ruled on the suit challenging the victory of Dapo Abiodun, the incumbent governor of Ogun State.
In the suit, Ladi Adebutu, governorship candidate of the PDP, had alleged that the election was marred by vote-buying orchestrated by the APC.
While delivering judgment, the court affirmed the decision of the Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which had earlier struck out all allegations made by the PDP.
In Enugu State, the election that produced Peter Mbah of the PDP as governor also attracted a petition from Uche Nnaji, candidate of the APC and one of Mbah’s rivals at the polls.
The case that was first heard at the state’s election petition tribunal went all the way to the Supreme Court.
On September 16, the apex court laid the contending issues to rest when it dismissed Nnaji’s case and affirmed the Mbah as the validly elected governor of the state.
At the election, the governor polled an overwhelming 160,895 votes ahead of an APC opponent who came third with 14,575 votes.
Nnaji’s case was, however, premised on Mbah’s alleged ineligibility to participate in the election. In his suit, the APC candidate claimed the governor had violated asset declaration law.
In the end, the Supreme Court panel led by Justice Tijani Abubakar held that Nnaji’s appeal was defective and dismissed it.
In the coming days, there would surely be more pronouncements from the courts concerning the various petitions that would either dislodge current office holders or affirm their victory.
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