Governor Babangida Aliyu
By Tobi Soniyi and Aisha Wakaso
The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the victory of Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State, both of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the April 2011 elections.
In two separate judgements, the apex court upheld the judgment of the appeal court and dismissed the appeals brought by both the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in respect of Niger State and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Kano State.
While delivering judgement in the appeal on the Niger State governorship election, Justice Mary Peter-Odili, held that the appellant failed to take the legal way to prove that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not produce the materials requested by him to be used as evidence.
The court further held that it was not its (court) duty to compel INEC to obey the order to produce the documents. The apex court said the lower courts were right in dismissing the appeals.
The court said the petitioner should have taken action on the disobedience of INEC instead of bringing up the issue in the final address.
Justice Odili said: “The appellant is not qualified to be given the relief it asked for. The tribunal and the Court of Appeal are within their powers to give judgement the way they did. In conclusion, issues are resolved in favour of the respondent and no order as to cost.”
In Kano, Justice Suleiman Galadima held that the appellant only alleged corrupt practices and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act but did not go ahead to prove this beyond reasonable doubt.
Galadima, who also held that the appellant only reacted to one out of the objections raised by the respondent, said the appellant complained about the evidence brought by the respondent but failed to address the court on the issue. He held that the appeal lacked merit and consequently dismissed it.
Reacting to the judgment, Kwankwaso commended the apex court for upholding the people’s verdict, stressing that he remained committed to serving the people of the state.Reacting through his Chief Press Secretary, Malam Danladi Ndayebo, Aliyu said: “This is victory from God and I dedicate my election to Him. I must thank the good people of Niger State for the confidence they have in me. They were there to vote and have supported us up till this moment.”
“I wish to also use this opportunity to renew my pledge to the good people of Niger State that I will serve them with all my strength. During my first tenure, I served the people and my people can attest to this. Now that the highest court in the land has affirmed that I was duly elected to serve my people for another term of four years, I can only tell them to expect much more.”