Supreme Court upholds Taraba Governor Kefas election Victory

From Lateef

The Supreme Court, on Thursday, affirmed the election victory of Agbu Kefas of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the rightful winner of the March 18 2023 governorship election that held in Taraba State.

The apex court, in a unanimous decision by a five-member panel, dismissed as incompetent the appeal filed by the New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP, and its governorship candidate in the state, Prof. Sani Yahaya.

The apex court in the lead judgement delivered by Justice Mohammed Garba held that the NNPP and its candidate filed an incomplete record of appeal.

Prof Yahaya had filed an appeal at the Supreme Court, praying the court to upturn the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Abuja which affirmed Kefas’ election victory.

The appellate court had in the judgement it delivered on November 28, 2023, dismissed the appeal by the NNPP and its candidate as lacking in merit.

The court held that it found no reason to vacate the verdict of the Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which had on September 30, 2023, declared Kefas of the PDP as the bonafide winner of the gubernatorial poll.

The appellate court faulted the tribunal for not striking out the petition outrightly, noting that it was legally incompetent.

According to the appellate court, whereas the petitioners, in one breath, sought the nullification of the governorship poll on the premise that it was invalid by reason of non-compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, they also turned around and prayed to be declared winner of the election.

It held that the petitioners sought both prayers, together, as main reliefs, instead of as alternative reliefs.

The appellate court held that reliefs the petitioners sought from the tribunal were “patently incongruous”, saying there was no legal or factual pedestal for a litigant to make inconsistent prayers at the same time.

More so, the court held that even if one of the prayers came as an alternative relief, the petitioners ought to have anchored it on separate facts.

It held that the “legal misadventure of the petitioners” was based on their “misapprehension of section 136 of the Electoral Act 2022.”

It held that the tribunal ought to have upheld a preliminary objection that was filed before it by governor Kefas and strike out the petition for being incompetent.

Consequently, it nullified a portion of the judgement of the tribunal that dismissed governor Kefas’ preliminary objection and accordingly struck out the petition for want of competence.


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