Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku has since 2015 maintained a strong electoral victory in Taraba State despite sustained challenge from opposition parties. Our reporter xrays the Governor’s electoral wins
Governor Darius Ishaku had in 2015 despite the wind of change that blew across the country which saw many states of the federation controlled by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), falling to the opposition All Progressive Party (APC) won in Taraba with a clear margin at the poll.
The election which ran into a runoff further consolidated the Governor’s win. Sen. Aisha Alhassan then challenged the victory up to the supreme court which ended the battle by declaring Gov. Ishaku as the validly elected by the people of Taraba.
Despite the distractions occasioned by the court battle and the security challenge and other plethora of challenges inherited by the governor, Ishaku’s focus on uplifting the State was not shaken as he embarked on people’s oriented policies and programmes.
The people of Taraba spoke again through the ballot on March 9th 2019, they went to the poll and re-elected him for another term of four years.
The margin was even more wide and clear this time as the Governor polled 520,432 votes to beat his closest rival and candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi, who polled 362,735 votes.
Ishaku won 12 out of the 16 local government areas in the state with a margin of 157,69 votes.
Sani Abubakar and APC not satisfied with the outcome of the election approach the tribunal to challenge victory, but the tribunal sitting in Abuja nullified the petition brought by the All Progressives Congress challenging the election of Governor Darius Ishaku.
The court on Friday September 20th said the APC’s petition was not brought by competent applicants, since the first petitioner, Abubakar Danladi, had been disqualified by successive judgements from appearing as a candidate for the APC in the March 9 election.
The court also ruled that the allegations of election malpractices brought by the APC did not include sufficient evidence to warrant a nullification of the election.
Alhaji Sani Danladi and his party had accused the PDP of massive election rigging.
The APC also alleged that it had polled a majority of lawful votes in the election.
But a three-member panel of the Court on Friday said the decision of various courts including the Supreme Court which ruled against the candidacy of Mr. Danladi in the elections following an intra-party dispute, had rendered the petition incompetent.
Even though the judgement of the tribunal was without ambiguities, the APC without Sani Danladi headed to the Appeal Court which again threw out their case against the Governor.
The panel of justices of Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Monday November 18th upheld the return of Darius Ishaku as Governor of Taraba State.
The court in a judgement also dismissed the appeal by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for being incompetent and lacking in merit.
The APC had approached the Court of Appeal marked CA/A/EPT/934/2019, on October 3, 2019, in petition No: EPT/TR/GOV/01/2019, for an order setting aside the decision of the tribunal.
The party had among other things claimed that Ishaku did not win a majority of votes cast at the election on account of alleged irregularities that marred the governorship poll.
The party therefore prayed the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the tribunal and ordered the INEC to conduct a fresh election.
But delivering judgment in the appeal, the five-man panel of the court in a unanimous decision upheld the judgment of the Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which also dismissed the APC’s petition for being unmeritorious.
Presided by Justice Chidi Uwa, the Appeal Court agreed with the lower tribunal that the appellant had no lawful candidate in the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Taraba State, by virtue of the disqualification of its candidate by the Jalingo division of the Federal High Court on March 6, 2019.
The court in addition said that the appellant was also unable to prove allegations of irregularities raised in its petition and accordingly dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.
Reacting to the judgement, Elder John Mamman said the people of Taraba voted the Governor back to the office to continue with his good work in the State.
“The mandate was not stolen but freely given. The people of Taraba are happy with the Governor’s achievements despite challenges facing the State and voted for him overwhelmingly.
“Some of the basic things if you would like to know are things like payment of salaries and pensions which are done regularly unlike most states in the country that are not able to pay salaries.
“And with the meagre resources that is left after the payment of salaries, pensions and management of crisis and other challenges he has been able to channel these resources to development projects.
“Now we can boost of good water supply, he has been able to stabilize water in Jalingo and most of the urban centres in the state. Most of the rural areas now boost of boreholes and people are no longer complaining of water related diseases and that has reduced rate of diseases in the state.
“In the area of road construction; three roads are going on. We have the Pantisawa road in Yorro Local Government, the Mararaba Baissa road is ongoing and the Wukari –Tsokundi road in Wukari is equally going on.
“The one in Wukari suffered a small set back because of the crisis there. In education he took the school from less than 30 percent to 70 percent, we are about the highest in the north and 4th in the country, so I think we in Taraba can boost and said our Governor has done very well,”he said.
Some residents of Taraba who spoke to our reporter lauded the judgement of the appeal court saying it will give the Governor a breathing space to face the task of governance in the State.
Alhaji Mohammed Manu a resident of Gassol told our correspondent in a telephone interview on Monday that the decision of the Appeal court was a vindication that Gov. Ishaku’s victory was willingly given by the people of the State.
This is even as Tikon Paul from Kurmi local government said the appeal court judgement will give the Governor opportunity to face governance and deliver dividends of democracy to the people of the State.
In Jalingo, Hajiya Rekiya Adamu and Shaukani David both of Kona ward hailed the appeal court ruling describing it as watershed.
“The judgement of the appeal court today is a clear indication that APC and its candidate in the 2019 Governorship election had no case against the Governor
“The good thing is that the Judgement will end the legal battle against the Governor in respect to the last election, he will now have a good time to face governance and deliver better service to the people of Taraba,” one of the residents said in a text message to our reporter.