Appeal court dismisses NNPP’s suit, affirms PDP’s Kefas as Taraba gov

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Tuesday affirmed the election of Agbu Kefas of the Peoples Democratic Party as governor of Taraba State.

The Independent National Electoral Commission announced Kefas as the winner of the Taraba governorship election conducted on March 18, 2023.

The New Nigeria Peoples Party and its governorship candidate, Prof. Sani Yahaya, had challenged the victory of Kefas alongside his party, the Peoples Democratic Party.

The petition was on the grounds of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act of 2022, citing over voting, mutilation of result sheets and alleged violence in some polling units.

Delivering judgment in the appeal, a three-member panel of the appellate dismissed the appeal for lacking merit.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Peter Affen, the court held that the appellants failed to prove their case.

Mr Affen held that the petitioners were inconsistent in the reliefs sought.

“They cannot claim a certificate of return in an election they claimed was fraught with non-compliance and irregularities. The section 137 of the Electoral Act, 2022 has not abrogated the provisions of the Evidence Act. The appeal lacks merit and accordingly dismissed,” the court held.

The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which sat in Jalingo on September 30 affirmed Kefas’ election as the governor of Taraba.

The panel held that the petitioners who claimed to have scored the majority of lawful votes cast were inconsistent in their reliefs sought as they asked that the same election be declared invalid, yet valid to declare their candidate winner.

The tribunal thus upheld the election of Kefas as the duly elected governor of the state. The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to proof their case to warrant the reliefs sought to be granted

“The two issues formulated by the petitioners in their final written address are therefore resolved against them. The petition lacks merit, we accordingly reaffirm the election and return of Kefas as the duly elected Governor of Taraba State and parties are to bear their cost,” the tribunal held.