The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Monday upheld the second term election of Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State.
A five-man panel of the court led by Justice C.N Uwa dismissed the appeal by the All Progressives Congress and its governorship candidate in the March 9, 2019 poll, Abubakar Danladi.
The court affirmed the judgment of the Taraba State Governorship Election Tribunal, which had dismissed the petition by the APC challenging Ishaku’s election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
A three-man panel of the tribunal led by Justice M.O. Adewara, had in its unanimous judgment delivered on September 20, 2019, dismissed the petition filed by the APC and Danladi.
The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to prove their claims that the election was marred by irregularities and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
The court also held that the appellant failed to prove allegations of over-voting by not tendering relevant electoral documents including voters’ registrar.
It added that votes cast for the APC and Danladi were wasted on the grounds that the party had no valid candidate for the March 9, 2019 election.
The court noted that Danladi was disqualified as APC’s governorship candidate, by virtue of a March 6, 2019 judgment of the Federal High Court, Jalingo and the judgment was never upturned by a higher court.
It added that Danladi having failed to have the judgment overturned by the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court, it implied that the party had no candidate for the election.
He said, “The judgment of the Federal High Court remained binding on all parties having not been set aside by the Court of Appeal.
“The judgment of the Federal High Court having not been upturned took effect on March 6, 2019.”
On APC’s claim that Danladi was substituted with the deputy governorship candidate, the court held that “a disqualified candidate cannot be substituted long after an election.
The appellate court ruled, “By section 285 (13) of the 1999 constitution, a deputy candidate cannot be substituted for a principal candidate,” the court held.
He said, “I hold that the appellant has no candidate in the March 9 governorship election in Taraba state since it did not sponsor a competent candidate.
“I hold that the appeal is unmeritorious and is hereby dismissed. The judgment of the tribunal is affirmed. Parties are to bear their cost.”