In a landmark judgment delivered on Sunday, October 1st, the election of Jacob Ajegana Kudu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the Nassarawa Eggon East State House of Assembly Election held on March 18th has been upheld by the election tribunal.
Recall that the candidate of the PDP Ibrahim Mohammed, is challenging the victory of Jacob Kudu of APC in the polls conducted in March this year.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Francisca Nnong-Isoni, in her ruling, stated that the petitioner failed to provide sufficient evidence to support their case, leading to the dismissal of the case on grounds of lack of merit.
Despite acknowledging instances of over-voting, Justice Nnong-Isoni emphasized that these irregularities did not alter the outcome announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). She pointed out that the challenged wards and polling units were won by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and not the petitioner’s party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which came last in the election.
Furthermore, Justice Nnong-Isoni awarded costs of 200,000 Naira each against the petitioners, sending a strong message against frivolous litigation that wastes the tribunal’s time.
Speaking after the verdict, Counsel to the petitioner, Bar. Adidiong Usungurua, expressed the intention to review the case with their clients and explore the possibility of an appeal if deemed necessary under the law. He highlighted the tribunal’s acknowledgment of over-voting but indicated that it was not considered substantial enough to prove their case.
On the other side, Counsel to Hon. Jacob Ajegana Kudu, the 1st respondent, and the APC, Bar. Abdullahi Gayam, celebrated the verdict as a victory for the party and lauded the court’s decision to uphold the election results due to a lack of merit in the petitioner’s case.
In a telephone conversation, 1st respondent Hon. Jacob Ajegana Kudu expressed his happiness over the victory and characterized it as a win for democracy.
He pledged to focus on delivering on his electoral promises and sponsoring bills to address the challenges facing his constituency. Additionally, he extended an olive branch to the petitioner, Ibrahim Muhammed, calling on him to join hands for the betterment of the constituency, emphasizing their familial bond.
Hon. Jacob Ajegana Kudu concluded by expressing gratitude to his constituents and his readiness to serve them diligently as their elected representative in the State House of Assembly.