Nasarawa: Supreme Court Re-affirms Sule (APC) As Governor, Dismisses Ombugadu’s Suit

The Supreme Court has re-affirmed Sule Absullahi as duly elected Governor of Nasarawa State in the 18th March Governorship poll.

On March 20, INEC declared incumbent APC’s Abdullahi winner with 347209 votes against his closest challenger & the PDP Candidate, David Emmanuel Ombugadu’s 283016 votes.

Dissatisfied with the results as declared by the umpire, Ombugadu & the PDP through their lead counsel, Chief Godwin Kanu Agabi SAN, approached the tribunal seeking redress. INEC, Audu and APC were listed as the first, second and third defendants, respectively.

The Petitioners prayed amongst others:

-That the 2nd defendant did not score the majority of lawful votes and that in turn, it was the 1st Petitioner who indeed won the election and should have been declared winner.

On 2nd October, In a leading judgement of 2-1; the tribunal upheld the petition (EPT/NS/GOV/01/2023), sacked Gov Sule and affirmed Ombugadu as winner.

The tribunal held that there were calculation errors that aided the declared victory of the 2nd defendant and subsequently ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate issued to him and be awarded to the 1st Petitioner.

Dismayed by the outcome, Gov Sule through lead Counsel Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN headed to the penultimate Court in these matters.

The Appeal Court (in) Suit No: CA/MK/EP/GOV/NS/30/2023, averred that Gov Sule was not given fair hearing.

“The tribunal was wrong to have countenanced the evidence of the subpoenaed witnesses whose witness statements on oath were not front-loaded alongside the petition. Therefore, the evidence of PW5, PW6, PW7, PW8, PW12, PW13, PW20 & PW21 and all the exhibits tendered through them are expunged from the records of the Court for been consequently incompetent and hence struck out,” the Court held.

The panel led by Justice Uchechukwu Onyemenam JCA subsequently nullified the majority decision of the tribunal, and re-affirmed Gov Sule as duly elected and returned.

Obviously unhappy, Ombugadu approached the Apex Court where all litigations must come to an end.

In consolidated appeals: Ombugadu & Anor v. INEC & Ors (Suit No: SC/CV/1213/2023), the panel led by Justice KMO Kekere-Ekun JSC upheld the Judgement of the Court of Appeal and affirmed the APC Candidate as duly returned.

In a unanimous judgement, the Apex Court held that the well-considered ruling of the Appeal Court cannot be punctured.