President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State and Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State on the affirmation of their victories in the March 2019 gubernatorial polls by the respective State Governorship Election Petition Tribunals.
A statement by the Presidency Said President Buhari, travelled with the two victorious All Progressives Congress (APC) party governors to South Africa on a State Visit, also extended his goodwill to the duo on Wednesday shortly before departure from the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The President described the verdict of the Tribunals as a victory for democracy, commending the people of Kano and Plateau States for maintaining the peace, allowing the due process of law to prevail and respecting the role of the judiciary in a democracy.
With the elections and tribunals now behind, the President urged the governors to unite their States by focusing more on inclusive and accountable governance and ensuring that all APC programmes targeted at improving the welfare of Nigerians are fully implemented.
President Buhari assured them that the Federal Government will continue to work with States to create economic growth that benefits everyone, and security for human lives, investments and the environment.
Recall that the Kano State and Plateau governorship election petition tribunals haf upheld the election of Governors Simon Lalong and Abdullahi Ganduje.
The Plateau State Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal in Jos on Wednesday affirmed the election of Governor Simon Lalong.
Jeremiah Useni of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is challenging the election of Mr Lalong in the March 9 governorship poll.
Mr Useni prayed the tribunal to declare him winner of the elections, alleging the disparity in the names supplied by Mr Lalong in form CF001.
Delivering judgment, a panel three justices led by Justice Halima Salami, held that the petitioners could did not adequately prove their case.
The tribunal held that the information made in form CF001 by Mr Lalong bothering on the disparity of name, was not fundamental in nature.
The tribunal also held that the petitioners, failed to prove their allegation of electoral irregularities bothering on falsifications of results and over voting against Mr Lalong and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking after judgment, Pius Akuboh, SAN, Counsel to the APC and Mr Lalong, commended the tribunal for the verdict.
Mr Akuboh said the tribunal commendably dealt with all the issues raised and canvassed by the parties from all angles.
“This include the qualification of the second respondent to contest the election, allegation of over voting, corrupt practices and non-compliance to electoral law.
“Painstakingly the tribunal considered interlocutory matters raised by the respective counsels to the parties.
“We are satisfied that the judgment is in our favour specifically with respect to the qualification of the governor.
“The tribunal unequivocally found as a fact that the governor did not give false information fundamental nature in aid of his qualification,” he stated.
Also speaking, Edward Pwajok, SAN, Counsel to Mr Useni and the PDP, said that they were not satisfied with the verdict of the tribunal.
“There are many bus stops in judiciary and that we will challenge the verdict in a higher court.
“The tribunal has done its work but it is a long journey, today’s verdict is just a first step.
“However, we appreciate the people of Plateau and to state that the first petitioner, Sen. J.T. Useni remains confident in the Nigerian judiciary.
“Thank God there are higher levels as the judgement itself has already formulate many grounds for appeal.
“Because some of the findings were not in sync with the conclusion reached.
“For instance, on the issue of the qualification of the governor, the tribunal found out that he lied on oath on the information he supplied in form CF00,” he stated.
In Kano, the chairman of the three-member panel, Halima Shamaki, backed by the other two judges announced the dismissal of the petition by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Abba Yusuf.
Meanwhile, the Sokoto State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, on Wednesday in Abuja affirmed the election of Gov. Aminu Tambuwal.
The three man tribunal dismissed the petition of the APC and its governorship candidate, Ahmed Aliyu, for lacking in merit.
In delivering judgment, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Abbas Bawale said the petitioners had failed to establish their claims to non compliance with the Electoral Act and the issue of over voting.
Bawale also said the evidences of the petitioners’ witnesses especially witness number ten amounted to hearsay which could not prove any of the allegations.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that Aliyu had gone to the tribunal seeking to upturn the victory of Tambuwal of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 Governorship election.
The Governorship Election which held on March 9 was declared inconclusive following cancellation of 75, 403 votes which were higher than the 3, 413 votes margin between the leading candidates.
The re-run was then conducted on March 23, which led to the victory of Tambuwal who won with a slim margin of 342 votes.
Dissatisfied with the outcome, Aliyu approached the tribunal challenging the return of Tambuwal as the governor-elect, on the grounds that the election was marred with irregularities.
Tambuwal and PDP had objected to the petition, which the tribunal unanimously dismissed, saying the petition disclosed substantial cause of action and was properly signed by the petitioners.
In addition, the tribunal equally ruled that the petitioners duly paid the filling fees.
It further held that the non joinder of the running mate to the petitioners is not enough to render the petition incompetent.
On the whole, Justice Abbas Bawale led tribunal held that the application lacks merit and constituted a waste of judicial time.
Additional reports by NAN