The Gombe State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has affirmed the re-election of Governor Inuwa Yahaya of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Delivering judgement Tuesday in Gombe, the capital city, three-man panel headed by Justice S.B. Belgore dismissed the petitions filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Jibril Barde and that of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and its candidate, Nafiu Bala, challenging Yahaya’s victory in the March 18 election.
Belgore said that the petition of the ADC and its candidate lacked merit.
The ADC was challenging the declaration of Yahaya over an alleged multiplicity and variations in the arrangement of names on the certificates of his deputy without accompanying affidavits to prove authenticity.
The court struck out the matter, saying that it was a pre-election issue, adding that the deputy had met the minimum requirement to run.
“I affirm that the petition by the ADC against return of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya as the duly elected governor of Gombe State lacks merit in all front and that the election of the first and second respondents as winners of the March 18th guber polls is valid and lawful,” the judge said.
On the petition of the PDP, the tribunal described it as “vague and baseless”.
The PDP had alleged that Yahaya was not re-elected by majority of the lawful votes, alleging that multiple thumb printing and ballot box stuffing were carried out across various polling units in nine out of the 11 local government areas of the state to favour Inuwa Yahaya.
The Tribunal, therefore, struck out the petition due to the failure of the petitioners to provide witnesses and proof to back their claims.
INEC had declared Yahaya winner of the election with 342,821 votes to defeat his closest rival, PDP’s Jibrin Barde, who polled 233,131.