The Supreme Court has ordered the Gombe State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal to re-try the petition against the election of governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The tribunal had earlier dismissed the petition filed by the African Democratic Congress (ADC), challenging the victory of Dankwambo in the April guber election.
The petition was nullified and dismissed by the tribunal over the question of competency of the petitioner’s lawyer, Sam Kagbo, as a legal practitioner.
The petitioner’s lawyer had signed the petition as Sam Kagbo whereas on the roll of lawyers, the name is Sam Peter Kagbo.
The respondent raised objection to that effect and prayed the tribunal to dismiss the petition.
The tribunal, however, agreed with the respondent’s counsel and consequently dismissed the petition.
Not satisfied with the ruling, the ADC approached the Court of Appeal challenging the decision.
The Court of Appeal ordered the tribunal to re-try the petition.
Not satisfied, Dakwambo had approached the apex court seeking to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal.
The apex court unanimously dismissed the appeal on grounds that the tribunal had only emphasised on technicalities in arriving at its decision.
In the lead judgment, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun held that the tribunal was wrong to have dismissed the petition on ground of technicalities.
The apex court, however, returned the petition to the tribunal to be tried on its merit.
Meanwhile, the state chapter All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate in the April 11 gubernatorial election, Alhaji Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya, have headed to the Court of Appeal to challenge the judgment of the state election petitions tribunal that upheld the victory of Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The tribunal had in its verdict declared Dankwambo as the duly elected governor of Gombe State.
But APC and Yahaya have rejected the judgment, and have dragged the governor to the appellate court. Others joined as respondent in the appeal are the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In the appeal filed by A Yahaya’s counsel, Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), the appellants raised 22 grounds of appeal.
He said: “The chairman and members of the tribunal erred in law when they resolved issue against the appellants and held that the appellants failed to adduce evidence to establish that the petitioners, rather than the 1st and 2nd respondents scored the majority of lawful votes cast in the governorship election held in Gombe State after the appellants led cogent and credible evidence to prove that the 1st and 2nd respondents did not score the majority of lawful votes cast in the Governorship Election held on April 11th , 2015 in Gombe State.
“The chairman and members of the tribunal erred in law when they placed no reliance on the chart drawn by the appellants and held that there is no scintilla of statistical analysis, mathematical calculation or evidential explanation of how the final figures stated in the chart were arrived at.”
Yahaya also said the tribunal erred in law when their lordships further resolved issue one against the petitioners and held that the net result of the analysis and legal expositions purportedly done by their lordships is that, the petitioners failed to prove by credible evidence that they scored the majority of lawful votes cast of the governorship election held in Gombe State on April 11, 2015.
“The chairman and the members of the tribunal erred in law by expunging Exhibit AN (the Card Reader P.U. by P.U. Accreditation Report) from the record, on the ground that the document was tendered from the bar and no foundation was laid for its admissibility,” he further alleged.