Supreme Court affirms election of Nasir Idris as Kebbi governor

0
Supreme Court affirms election of Nasir Idris as Kebbi governor
Gov. Nasir Idris of Kebbi State

The Supreme Court on Friday affirmed the election of Gov. Nasir Idris as Kebbi governor.

Delivering judgment, Justice Uwani Abba-Aji, dismissed the appeal by the PDP against the governor dismissed for lacking merit.

Abba-Aji held that the allegations of forgery of testimonial brought against the deputy governor of the state, Abubakar Tafida, was not be established as required by law.

The apex court also held that the issues of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act in the conduct of the election failed because the appellants failed to prove how the allegations substantially affected the poll.

The apex court affirmed the judgment of the Kebbi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal delivered on Oct. 5, 2023 and that of the Court of Appeal in holding that Idris was duly elected.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the March 18 Kebbi gubernatorial election inconclusive owing to “massive vote cancellation and overvoting” in 20 of the 21 LGAs in the state.

The commission later fixed 15 April for a supplementary election.

At the end of the exercise, Idris, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), scored 409,225 votes to beat Bande, who got 360,940 votes.

Bande and his party rejected the result and filed a petition before the tribunal.

In the petition, the petitioners alleged that there was over-voting in some polling units and that Idris was not qualified to contest the poll.

They also alleged that the deputy governor had submitted a fake secondary school testimonial to INEC.

However, in the judgment, Ofem Ofem, the chairman of the tribunal, held that the petitioners failed to prove beyond doubt that the deputy governor presented a fake certificate to INEC.

Ofem added that the evidence presented showed that the testimonial in question was duly signed and issued to him by the then principal of Sultan Abubakar College, Sokoto in 1982.

He described the documents presented by the petitioners as “iron cast evidence” saying, “we state categorically that the third respondent did not forge certificate”.

On the issue of over-voting, Ofem said out of the 59 polling units being questioned, irregularities were discovered in nine.

He, however, said the deduction of the votes would not affect the margin between the election winner and the first runner-up. He added that there was no substantial evidence to prove over-voting and irregularities in other polling units.