BREAKING: Supreme Court affirms Sule as Nasarawa Governor 

BREAKING: Supreme Court affirms Sule as Nasarawa Governor 

… FMBlog captures September, October 2023 reactions 

By Faith Awa Maji

The Supreme Court of Nigeria has put an end to the lingering Nasarawa State governorship Tussle by declaring the incumbent Governor, Abdullahi Sule winner for the March 18 governorship poll.

The Supreme Court has affirmed the victory of Governor Abdullahi Sule of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 gubernatorial election in Nasarawa State. 

Delivering its ruling on Friday morning, the apex court dismissed the appeal filed by David Ombugadu of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), David Ombugadu for lacking in merit. 

The apex court said Governor Sule was validly elected in the election held on Saturday March 18, 2023. 

A five-man panel of the Supreme Court has reserved judgment in the appeal instituted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 2023 gubernatorial candidate, David Ombugadu, challenging the judgment of the Court of Appeal that reinstated Governor Abdullahi Sule. 

At the hearing of the substantive appeal on Tuesday, the panel headed by Justice Kudirat M. O Kekere, adjourned the suit for judgment after taking arguments from lawyers to the parties to the appeal.

The panel declared that a date for the judgment is to be communicated to the lawyers to the parties.

The Nasarawa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had nullified the March 18th gubernatorial which produced Governor Sule, following which the Governor headed for the Court of Appeal to challenge the judgment of the tribunal.

On November 15th, 2023, the court of appeal sitting in Abuja vacated the judgment of the lower court, and declared Governor Sule as duly elected.

Dissatisfied with the pronouncement of the court of appeal, Ombugadu headed for the Supreme Court to challenge the ruling of the lower court.

PDP and its Candidate, Ombugadu. 

While at the Supreme Court hearing David Emmanuel Ombugadu through his team of lawyers told the apex Court to declare him winner of the Governorship election conducted on 18 March, 2023 in Nasarawa. 

According to the lead Counsel Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN while holding brief on what transpired at apex Court “we contend that the court below(Appeal Court) was wrong when it held that the appellants did not give legal evidence and that the trial tribunal was wrong to have recomputed the votes in the way it did.

“To address this issue, It is apt to briefly reiterate that the Appellants’ case premised on the lone ground that the first respondent (Sule) was not elected by a majority of lawful votes cast which was principally anchored on the improper entries of results duly declared at the polling units from FORM EC8As to EC8Bs and in some cases outright cancellation by the collation officer when he clearly lacked the vires to so do.

“We commend your Lordships to the case of Agagu vs Mimiko (2009) 7NWLR PT 1140) 342 at 432 CA where the Court held that “It is settled that the polling booth results as set down in form EC8A is the primary evidence of votes cast in an election.

“Furthermore, in successfully proving this allegation, the Appellants tendered the certified true copies of both the form  EC8As and FORM EC8Bs in proving the said allegation.”

“At the risk of emphasis, the evidence before the trial tribunal and indeed now before this Honourable court is largely documentary as they are result sheets emanating from the election.

“All the witnesses did was to identify the documents and the same was tendered through them. These documents were not disputed by the Respondents as there was no contrary document placed before the court to impeach their admissibility or weight as the case may be. And the documents were duly certified and tendered per the express provision of Section 137 of the Electoral Act, 2022

“By the enactment of Section 137 of the Electoral Act, 2022, the necessity of calling polling units agents have been obviated. The documents tendered by the Appellants to establish lone ground are Certified True Copies which were manifest ex facie on the allegation made. There was no contrary evidence to debunk the validity of those documents

“The objective of Section 137 of the Electoral Act, 2022 is to relieve a petitioner from calling eyewitness evidence in proof of allegations other than corrupt practice, when the complaints are manifest on the face of the document.

“It is glaring that what the court needed to arrive at the fact that there were discrepancies in the ward results and the polling unit results is ex facie on the documentary evidence presented to it. The oral testimony of witnesses were incapable of varying and/or altering the contents of the unchallenged documents that were before the trial tribunal thus, it need  not rely on the testimony of the witnesses to arrive at the conclusion it reached.

“In that pursuit, we submit that the Appellants did not give hearsay or inadmissible evidence as erroneously held by the court below. The Appellants accordingly gave legal evidence and the Court below was right to have recomputed the scores in that regard, and we urge Your Lordships to so hold.

“In arriving at the actual computation, the Trial Tribunal took cognizance of the exhibits tendered by the Petitioners cum Appellants herein.

“In that pursuit, we urge Your Lordships to resolve this issue in favor of the Appellants and against the Respondents accordingly”, he said. 

How INEC, APC, PDP trade words at lower court in September 2023.

In a dramatic turn of events during the adoption of written addresses, Council to PDP candidate, Kanu Agabi SAN indicated that INEC accepted wrongdoing when the defense lawyer, Ishiaku Dikko, SAN acknowledged that both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor Sule were also shortchanged during the March 18 governorship election.

He spoke while shedding more light on their contribution to the incorrect declaration of the winner.

In the words of Agabi, INEC failed to defend the victory they declared as they heaped their claims on the ambiguity of collated figures while ignoring INEC records, arguing that their client was also rigged of their votes by INEC at other polling units different from the ones under contention by the petitioners.

“With INEC having concluded its final address on a quote “what is good for the goose is good for the gander,” Counsel to the Petitioners opined that the INEC is positioning to be both “goose and gander.”

The petitioners are challenging the results of several electoral wards, including Gayam, Ciroma, Azara, Kanje/Abuni, Ashige, and more, citing inflation of votes in favor of the 2nd and 3rd respondents, as well as wrongful vote cancellations.

To support their case, the petitioners presented evidence from all agents in the disputed wards and copies of Form ECSA (Polling Unit Results) obtained from INEC, as well as duplicate copies issued to party agents.

Based on the polling unit results before the tribunal, Hon. David Emmanuel Ombugadu emerges as the victor in the last gubernatorial election in Nasarawa State.

The petitioners argue that the Form EC8B, D, and E presented by the respondents differ from the foundational sources of election data, including Form ECSA series, BVAS Machines Reports, and CTC IRev Portal Reports.

According to sources, the ongoing controversy raises significant questions about the integrity of the election process in Nasarawa State, as the tribunal continues to assess the evidence presented by both parties members of the public are waiting for the verdict of the Tribunal.

Tribunal verdict and people’s reactions in October 2023

How a cross section of Nigerians reacted using various social media outlets after the recent verdict of the Nasarawa State Election Petition Tribunal which sacked Governor Abdullahi Sule of the APC and declared David Emmanuel Ombugadu of the PDP, winner of the governorship polls held on 18th March, 2023. 

The Tribunal in its judgment delivered virtually held that the petitioners duly proved their case.

Dr. Ombugadu and PDP had approached the Tribunal contending amongst others that his actual votes were unjustifiably reduced while that of Alhaji Sule and APC were increased to aid Sule to victory particularly in the forms EC8Bs of Gayam and Chiroma Wards of Lafia LGA. 

The Tribunal in its well considered decision deducted the incorrect votes added to Alhaji Sule and accordingly added back the votes which were unjustifiably reduced from the overall votes of Dr. David Ombugadu which were all apparent on the certified copies of the polling units results (forms EC8A) tendered by the petitioners.

The respondents did not produce any contrary set of forms EC8As throughout the trial. 

In the final analysis, the Tribunal held that the petition had merit and accordingly granted the reliefs sought by the petitioners. The Tribunal ordered that the certificate of return issued to Alhaji Sule be withdrawn and issued to Rt. Hon. Dr. David Emmanuel Ombugadu as the validly elected Governor of Nasarawa State.

The social media handles used by the people who reacted to the judgment as captured by FMBlog are: X (formerly Twitter), WhatsApp and Facebook. By Faith Awa Maji Unedited

From WhatsApp: 

“Man is not God and God is not man. Can anybody or power contend with God? God has spoken and nobody can oppose him. To God be the glory. As I celebrate this victory I remember our mothers who stood firm to fight for the stolen mandate. At that time some people never saw the relevance and implications of a widow standing naked before her creator to cry for justice. Today her nakedness is never in vain. I dedicate this victory to God Almighty and our mothers. They are the true heroes of this struggle. I also thank God for the life of Barr. Okutepe (SAN) for his doggedness and legal luminary during the entire court proceedings. He is a true patriot who believes in fairness and justice. Finally, the Lord Almighty will bless the two justices who stood on the path of truth. Posterity will always remember them for their honesty and courage. Congratulations to David of our time! Congratulations to the good people of Nasarawa State.” 

“OMBUGADU VICTORY shows the potency or power of unity. When we are united in a cause, even God respects the power of unity. Most of us never foresaw that after the creation of Nasarawa State, indigent nations will suffer this level of relegation. In the old Plateau State, the Aren Eggon was the most senior monarch in the hierarchy from lower Plateau. But after the creation of the State, the Emir of Lafia was elevated above Aren Eggon and made chairman of the State Council of Chiefs. And before you know it, systematic subjugation of indigent people became the order of the State.”

“Morning, all indigenous tribes be mobilised both Muslims and Christians for a thanksgiving march and prayers for the judges and lawyers in the temple of justice. It should be properly covered for the whole world to know. Let me tell us that the whole world is behind us after watching the videos of those naked women and their prayers.”

“He didn’t win. It is an indigene of Nasarawa State that won overwhelmingly. The court have agreed with us now.”

“Congratulations to the Indigenous People of Nasarawa state. We are one People! We are smarter now! They can’t use religion and tribe to divide and deceive us again!!!”

“A very big congratulations to the indigenous people of Nasarawa State. A new Dawn we all clamor for is here and our hope is renewed.”

“Psalm 75:1-10 Being our declaration of Thanksgiving. Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare. When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly. The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn: Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them. But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.”

“If you don’t know, below are the procedures

(1) Electoral Tribunal

(2) Appeal Court

(3) Supreme court. Ego shock you………

A A Sule Har GOBE !! Zama DARAM 💪💪 !!

“We always give glory to Allah in good and bad situations! On this one too we give glory to him and in the next one we will give glory to him, either ways! To our friends and family let’s be calm as always. Nothing could have changed what happened today and nothing can change what will happen in future! We don’t blame anyone for the set back! We know it’s God today and He is still the One tomorrow! Zero tension”.

“No shaking you remain Governor of Nasarawa state until 25/5/2027 sir.”

“The end justified the beginning-He who laugh last laugh best. A very big CONGRATULATIONS to His Excellency Governor Abdullahi A Sule. Hug the nearest transformer if it hurt you 😆 Governor Abdullahi A Sule Remain The Dully Elected Governor Today Tomorrow Till 2027”.

“Your Excellency you still remain Our Governor they should wait until 2027.”

“You are their nightmare and you’ll continue to be their nightmare my leader my Governor today and beyond. His Excellency Governor Abdullahi A Sule Remain The Dully Elected Governor of Nasarawa State.” 

From X: “It’s groovy everywhere in Nasarawa. Congratulations David Ombugadu.”

“GOOD MORNING FROM THE LIBERATED PEOPLE OF #NASARAWASTATE Reporting Live from the Residence of the DULY ELECTED GOVERNOR OF THE STATE HIS EXCELLENCY Rt. Hon. @DrDavidOmbugadu Nigerian Youngest Governor of 21st Century. “Sai Yaro mai Wanka” is the Official Theme Song 🙌🙏🙌”.

“My warmest congratulations to Mr David Ombugadu of the PDP, who has been affirmed by the election petition tribunal in Lafia, Nasarawa State, as the duly elected Governor of the state. Elections are the cornerstone of democracy, and the people’s will, once determined, should always be upheld.”

“This boy no go senior me.. Are you seeing what i am seeing?”

“Congratulations Rt. Hon. David Ombugadu @davidombugadu23 on your victory at the polls and in the court.”

“Wait till the final court case. Don’t celebrate prematurely as you always do. The appeal & supreme court will affirm the election of Governor Sule”.

“Welcome home my winners bro David .. Oil surly dey your head”.

“Appeal and Supreme Courts next! 

Still few works to be done!” 

“People of Nasarawa have finally won.”

“Nasarawa Tribunal Judgement! PDP should calm down. This is just one out of three Courts. Let meet at Appeal and Supreme Courts. A.A Sule remains the Governor of Nasarawa State until then.

“It is our day in Nasarawa State. It is our day of Judgement. 

#OurGovernor #Ombugadu #NASARAWAGEPT”.

From Facebook: “Back To Business As Usual… In team A .A Sule advocates. We don’t let our dreams be just dreams. We strive to achieve it and make it a reality. You still remain theirs Governor today tomorrow till 20-27 Insha’allah 🤝”.

“We remain calm, hopeful, resolute and incharge, Nasarawa State tamuce no shaking!”

“It’s not yet over! We shall triumph beyond reasonable doubt…insha’Allah”.

“Congratulations good people of Nasarawa State. Ombugadu kainuwa dashen Allah”.

“Labaran Maku! The Duke of Marlborough of our time! First rate strategist in political warfare. My near namesake (or is it namesake depending on the pronunciation)Three assassination attempts!  A brave man who stood up to the vipers that have destroyed Nasarawa State. Has been brave since his student union days in the eighties! Lost two family members to assassins from the pit of demons. But it is victory to crown your Olympian efforts in the Davematics David E Ombugadu Nasarawa restoration project. 

Wishing you the very best in all your endeavors.”

“They are Gold Diggers. They are running to Davematics David E Ombugadu because of power. Just yesterday they said they were the owners of APC.”

“Congratulations to the good people of Nasarawa state and to Davematics David E Ombugadu We’re still waiting to see the wailers at appeal and supreme courts 🤣”.

The Just God did it again. The tribunal affirms the mandate that citizens freely gave Davematics David E Ombugadu.”

“Justice has prevailed in Nasarawa State. Trusting the appealate and supreme Court will agree with the masses that gave David Emmanuel Ombugadu their mandate. Congratulations to the latest governor. 💪”

“They said we should go to court, and we went to court, now they said they will go to court. 🤪🤪🤪🤪”.

“Ninety nine days for a thief, but surely one day for the owner. Here the right owner take possession.”

“Pls. Let d defeated breathe! Don’t suffocate them! 😂😅” 

“I feel like crying 😭. This can only be God. Alhamdulillah! Thank you Jesus!”

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