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FACT CHECK: Has APC recorded judicial victory in ‘every’ governorship election case?

FACT CHECK: Has APC recorded judicial victory in ‘every’ governorship election case?
November 24
07:30 2023

Multiple social media posts claim that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been winning in every state where governorship election outcomes were contested in courts.

After the gubernatorial polls of March 18, several aggrieved candidates presented their cases to the election tribunals, seeking favourable resolutions. 

While some have faced disappointment along this arduous path, others have emerged victorious in their pursuit of justice.

But as the verdicts continue to pour in, many Nigerians on social media have accused the APC of compromising the judiciary to rule in the party’s favour.

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“APC is winning everywhere using the court. There is no single dignity in all the courts in Nigeria,” @Edozietech1, an X user, tweeted on November 19.

“The learned has now sold the dignity for very cheap to our enemies of progress and the slave masters. God come to our aid.”

@Gyaranyajnr, another X user, said: “So funny… In every state, it’s APC that is winning cases in court. The APC that put this country in the worst situation was said to be voted in the 2023 election. Hmm, Nigerian Politics is surely a drama…”

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Also on X, @SirChely alleged that the APC wins elections “by rigging the ballot and vote buying, compromising” the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and by “buying lawyers and judges”. 

“There’s no way forward; If we do not have an independent judiciary. There’s no hope if we do not have an independent electoral process. There’s no hope if we do not have independent institutions devoid of political manipulations,” he added.

To verify the claims, TheCable examined verdicts from all the states where the governorship election results were challenged.

LAGOS (APC)

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On November 15, the court of appeal in Lagos dismissed the suit filed by Abdulazeez ‘Jandor’ Adediran, former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), against the victory of Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The Lagos governorship election petition tribunal had earlier dismissed Adeniran’s case on September 25, which prompted the PDP candidate to head to the appeal court.

ENUGU (PDP)

On November 10, the court of appeal affirmed the victory of PDP’s Peter Mbah as the governor of Enugu state.

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The panel held that the Labour Party (LP) and its governorship candidate in the election failed to prove that Mbah was not qualified to contest.

Consequently, the appeal court dismissed the suit for lacking merit and affirmed the judgement of the tribunal which declared Mbah as the winner of the governorship election.

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BENUE (APC)

Hyacinth Alia’s victory as the governor of Benue was affirmed by the court of appeal in Abuja on November 20.

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After the APC candidate was declared winner of the governorship election by INEC, Titus Uba, the PDP candidate, filed a petition challenging Alia’s victory but lost in September at the tribunal.

The appeal court also ruled in Alia’s favour, saying Uba failed to prove allegations of forgery against the governor’s running mate beyond reasonable doubt.

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KEBBI (APC)

On October 5, the Kebbi state governorship election petition tribunal affirmed APC’s Nasir Idris as the winner of the poll.

The tribunal also dismissed the petition by the PDP and Aminu Bande, its governorship candidate, saying the petitioners failed to prove their claims.

NASARAWA (APC)

The court of appeal in Abuja on Thursday affirmed the election of Abdullahi Sule as governor of Nasarawa state.

On October 2, the election petition tribunal in Lafia nullified Sule’s victory and declared David Ombugadu, PDP candidate, as the winner of the poll.

Consequently, Sule and the APC sought to overturn the verdict of the tribunal.

Delivering judgment, Uchechukwu Onuemenam, who read the lead verdict, held that evidence before the court showed that the tribunal relied on legally inadmissible evidence to declare Ombugadu as the winner.

PLATEAU (APC)

On November 19, the court of appeal in Abuja sacked Caleb Mutfwang, PDP candidate, as governor of Plateau state.

Although INEC announced Mutfwang as the winner of the election, having scored 525,299 votes, Nentawe Yilwatda, candidate of the APC who got 481,370 votes, challenged the outcome at the tribunal. However, his petition was dismissed after the tribunal held that the appellant lacked the locus standi to contest the validity of the respondent.

Aggrieved by the tribunal’s judgment, the APC and its candidate filed an appeal, leading to the appeal court ordering INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Mutfwang and issue a fresh one to the APC candidate.

ADAMAWA (PDP)

Following the victory of PDP’s Ahmadu Fintiri as Adamawa governor, Umar Ardo, candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the election, challenged the results.

However, the tribunal led by Theodora Uloho dismissed the petition for being incompetent and not properly filed.

Ardo had appealed the tribunal’s judgment but a ruling on Tuesday said the appeal court agreed with the conclusions of the tribunal.

AKWA IBOM (PDP)

On September 30, the election petition tribunal in Akwa Ibom affirmed the victory of Umo Eno as the state governor.

The tribunal dismissed the petition of Akanimo Udofia, candidate of the APC, and held that Eno did not submit a forged WAEC certificate as claimed by Albert Bassey and the Young Progressives Party (YPP).

Two weeks ago, the Lagos division of the appeal court dismissed the petitions filed by Action Alliance and Accord Party against the election of Eno. The court however reserved judgment in the case filed by the APC against the governor.

BAUCHI (PDP)

PDP clinched victory in Bauchi after the court of appeal in Abuja affirmed Bala Mohammed as the winner of the governorship election.

Sadique Abubakar, the APC candidate in the election, had challenged Mohammed’s victory at the tribunal but it was dismissed on the grounds that he failed to prove the allegation of BVAS manipulation.

In a unanimous decision on November 17 — after Abubakar appealed the tribunal judgement — the appeal court also ruled that Mohammed was validly elected.

DELTA (PDP)

Although the governorship tribunal in Delta had affirmed the election of Sheriff Oborevwori as the state governor, Ovie Omo-Agege, the APC flagbearer in the state, appealed the ruling.

In a decision on November 13, the appeal court in Lagos reserved judgment in three separate appeals filed by Omo-Agege, Kenneth Gbagi of the SDP and the LP’s Kennedy Pela.

KADUNA (APC)

The governorship tribunal panel, via Zoom, affirmed APC’s Uba Sani’s victory on “technical grounds” and dismissed the petition of Isah Ashiru and the PDP.

However, the PDP in Kaduna rejected the judgement and appealed it.

TARABA (PDP) 

On September 30, Kefas Agbu was affirmed as Taraba state governor by the election tribunal.

The tribunal held that Muhammad Yahaya and the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) failed to substantiate the allegations of non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

OGUN (APC)

The APC secured victory in Ogun on October 1 when the tribunal affirmed the election that produced Dapo Abiodun as the state governor.

The tribunal dismissed PDP and Ladi Adebutu’s petition, describing it as “incompetent, defective and lacking in merits”.

At the hearing of the appeal on November 14, the court of appeal reserved judgment after the adoption of all processes by all the parties. The court said the date for judgment would be communicated to the parties and three days’ notice would be given.

SOKOTO (APC)

On October 1, APC’s Ahmed Aliyu was affirmed governor of the state by the election petition tribunal.

The three-member panel of the tribunal, led by Haruna Msheila, dismissed the petition of the PDP and its candidate, Saidu Umar, saying they were unable to prove the grounds on which they filed the motion.

Meanwhile, the court of appeal in Abuja has reserved judgment in the appeal filed by the PDP and Umar.

CROSS RIVER (APC)

On Wednesday, the court of appeal in Lagos re-affirmed APC’s Bassey Otu as the winner of the governorship election in Cross River.

Sandy Onor, governorship candidate of the PDP, had earlier challenged the result at the tribunal but his petition was dismissed.

GOMBE (APC)

In a fresh victory on Thursday, the court of appeal in Abuja affirmed Inuwa Yahaya’s re-election as the governor of Gombe.

The PDP’s Jibrin Barde had filed a petition claiming that Yahaya, who contested on APC’s platform, was not re-elected by a majority of lawful votes. But the suit was dismissed by the tribunal before it met the same fate at the appeal court.

OYO (PDP)

The governorship tribunal concluded its sitting on July 13 after dismissing a petition filed by the Allied People’s Movement (APM) challenging the victory of PDP’s Seyi Makinde.

Babatunde Ajala of the Action Alliance (AA) had also challenged Makinde’s victory at the tribunal but his petition was dismissed.

ABIA (LP)

The Abia governorship election petition tribunal on October 6 affirmed Alex Otti as the duly elected governor of the state.

The panel dismissed the petitions filed by Okey Ahiwe of the PDP and APC’s Ikechi Emenike, saying they lacked merit.

EBONYI (APC)

On September 27, the Ebonyi state governorship election tribunal dismissed petitions filed by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the PDP — and affirmed APC’s Francis Nwifuru as governor.

However, the PDP said it would appeal the verdict.

KANO (APC)

On Friday, the appellate court in Abuja affirmed the verdict of the Kano tribunal which sacked NNPP’s Abba Yusuf as the governor. Yusuf Gawuna of the APC was declared the duly elected governor of Kano.

However, the certified true copy of the judgment appeared to be contradictory, as it affirmed the governor’s election and sacked him at the same time. Umar Bangari, chief registrar of the court of appeal, said the discrepancy was a clerical error that did not affect the court’s decision.

The matter is expected to be heard by the supreme court.

ZAMFARA (INCONCLUSIVE)

On November 16, the court of appeal in Abuja annulled the victory of PDP’s Dauda Lawal and declared the Zamfara governorship election inconclusive. The court ordered INEC to conduct new elections in two LGAs.

Although the tribunal had upheld Lawal’s victory, Bello Matawalle of the APC, now minister of state for defence, appealed the verdict.


VERDICT

It is incorrect to say the APC is winning in “every state”. Out of 28 states where governorship elections were held, the courts have issued verdicts on petitions involving 22 states. The APC has been victorious in 13, the PDP has secured eight, while the LP has one. Among the states where the APC has been successful in court, only two were due to ‘overturned victories’ of other parties — Kano and Plateau. The other states were originally won by the APC, and as such, they are ‘affirmed victories’.

The remaining six states — Borno, Jigawa, Yobe, Kwara, Katsina, and Niger — where there is no tribunal ruling yet belong to the APC.

STATE GOVERNOR VICTORIOUS PARTY  AS IT STANDS
Abia

 

Alex Otti LP Affirmed by tribunal
Adamawa

 

Ahmadu Fintiri PDP Affirmed by court of appeal

 

Akwa Ibom

 

Umo Eno PDP Affirmed by court of appeal
Bauchi

 

Bala Mohammed PDP Affirmed by court of appeal.
Benue

 

Hyacinth Alia APC Affirmed by court of appeal
Borno

 

Babagana Zulum APC  No verdict yet
Cross River

 

Bassey Otu APC Affirmed by court of appeal
Delta

 

Sheriff Oborevwori PDP Affirmed by tribunal
Ebonyi

 

Francis Nwifuru APC Affirmed by tribunal
Enugu

 

Peter Mbah PDP Affirmed by court of appeal
Gombe

 

Inuwa Yahaya APC Affirmed by court of appeal
Jigawa

 

Umar Namadi APC No verdict yet
Kaduna

 

Uba Sani APC Affirmed by tribunal
Kano

 

Nasiru Gawuna APC Affirmed by court of appeal
Katsina

 

Dikko Radda APC No verdict yet
Kebbi

 

Nasir Idris APC Affirmed by tribunal
Kwara

 

AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq APC No verdict yet
Lagos

 

Babajide Sanwo-Olu APC Affirmed by court of appeal
Nasarawa

 

Abdullahi Sule APC Affirmed by court of appeal
Niger

 

Mohammed Bago APC No verdict yet
Ogun

 

Dapo Abiodun APC Affirmed by tribunal
Oyo

 

Seyi Makinde PDP Affirmed by tribunal
Plateau

 

Nentawe Yilwatda APC PDP won in tribunal but APC candidate affirmed winner by appeal court
Rivers

 

Siminalayi Fubara PDP Affirmed by tribunal
Sokoto

 

Ahmad Aliyu APC Affirmed by tribunal
Taraba

 

Agbu Kefas PDP Affirmed by tribunal
Yobe

 

Mai Mala Buni APC No verdict yet
Zamfara

 

Dauda lawal PDP PDP won in tribunal but appeal court declared election inconclusive.

Additional reporting by Bolanle Olabimtan



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