- The presiding judge asserted that the petitioners lacked clarity regarding their desired outcome
- Prof. Kaletapwa Farauta, the deputy governor of Adamawa State, praised the verdict as a “triumph for Adamawa State.”
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Yola, the state’s capital, has recognised Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri as the legitimate victor of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s 2023 governorship election that was held there.
Following the rejection of the petition submitted by Dr. Umar Ardo of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), this ruling was made.
According to reports, Ardo had disputed the results of the elections held on March 18 and the subsequent announcement of Governor Fintiri as the victor after the April 16 supplementary election.
In his petition, filed on May 8, Dr Ardo named INEC, Governor Fintiri, and 16 others as respondents. He alleged that the election did not adhere to the provisions of the Electoral Act.
The petitioners further claimed that the conduct of the election by the first respondent was tainted by corrupt practices, including bribery, threats, and violence. They sought the annulment of the entire election process.
In response, the first to fourth respondents argued that the petition was time-barred and, therefore, could not be considered by the tribunal. They also alleged that the petition lacked supporting evidence and did not comply with the requirements of the Electoral Act.
In her judgement, however, today, the Chairperson of the tribunal, Theodorer Uloho, dismissed the petition as “incompetent, defective, incongruous and not properly instituted before the tribunal.”
Furthermore, the presiding judge asserted that the petitioners lacked clarity regarding their desired outcome.
Uloho also emphasized that allegations of corrupt practices must be substantiated with compelling and reliable evidence. Failure to do so rendered the petition devoid of value, devoid of significance, and devoid of any evidentiary weight.
Consequently, she dismissed the petition and awarded a sum of N200,000 in favour of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respondents.
In response to the Tribunal’s verdict, Prof. Kaletapwa Farauta, the deputy governor of Adamawa State, hailed it as a “triumph for Adamawa State.”
However, she extended an invitation to the defeated party to collaborate with the Fintiri administration in order to advance the progress of the state.
On the other hand, Sylvester Emanube, the petitioner’s legal representative, criticized certain aspects of the judgement, stating, “While many decisions were commendable, there are some that warrant further examination, particularly those that align with the decisions made by the Court of Appeal, which were also addressed today.”