The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision on Thursday, upheld the election of Taraba State Governor, Mr. Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), effectively putting paid to the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Senator Aisha Alhassan’s bid to become the first female governor in the country and confining her to the Ministry of Women Affairs where she is currently the minister.
In the lead judgment delivered by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, the Supreme Court held that the appeal by the APC and its candidate lacked merit and substance.
The court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal, which had also dismissed the petition filed by Alhassan and her party.
The Court of Appeal had held that APC and Alhassan could not query the validity of the nomination of Ishaku since they were not members of the PDP which sponsored him.
The Taraba State Governorship Election Tribunal had declared Alhassan winner of the election after holding that Ishaku was not validly nominated.
The governor was dissatisfied and went to the Court of Appeal. His appeal was allowed and the judgment of the tribunal set aside.
Not satisfied with the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Alhassan and her party appealed to the Supreme Court but the court ruled against them.
Justice Rhodes-Vivour said he would give reasons for his judgment on February 22, 2016.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, and several other towns in the state broke into wild jubilations yesterday, despite Ishaku’s admonition to his supporters to celebrate his victory with moderation.
Immediately news of the ruling filtered into the town at 2.10 pm, some areas in the ancient town were thrown into frenzy including Wukari and Takum, Ishaku’s hometown.
Groups of PDP supporters, mainly youths, went round some areas in the state capital with vehicles mounted with loud speakers singing and dancing and were egged on by other jubilant and enthusiastic crowds that lined the streets.
Songs and choruses were rendered, including chants: “Taraba Sai Darius”, “DDI No Shaking”, “Masu Gudu Su Gudu”, which literally means those “running should run”, even as the PDP motorcade blocked major streets in Jalingo in celebration.
As the procession moved round the town, the crowd of supporters kept swelling as several other youths who were oblivious of the ruling joined the procession to make the celebration even more elaborate.
THISDAY gathered that the situation was the same at Takum, Wukari, Zing, Kurmi and Donga Local Government Areas.
Reacting to the judgment, the Chairman of APC in Taraba State, Alhaji Hassan Ardo Jika, said the party had accepted the verdict of the Supreme Court in good faith, adding that they remain committed to the party despite the loss.
“The Supreme Court has a final say in this matter and we accept the verdict in good faith. I thank all who in one way or the other assisted us in the judicial journey. Our supporters should be calm and law abiding,” he stated.
On its part, the PDP said that the judiciary had shown that it remains the window of hope for democracy to strive in this country.
A statement by the acting National Chairman of the party, Chief Uche Secondus, said that the bold and patriotic approach of the Supreme Court in the various tribunal cases has gone a long way to show that it is indeed the last hope of the downtrodden.
“Without such landmark judgments from the Supreme Court, perhaps there would have been no Nigeria and we salute them for their courage in delivering justice to the people.
“We therefore warn APC and the federal government to stop insulting the judiciary, as there is nowhere in the world where a ruling party goes about hurling abuses at the judiciary,” he said. (Thisday)