The Supreme Court today upheld the victory of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku in the March 9th 2019 governorship election in Taraba State.
The lead Judgement was read by Justice Ejembi Eko who held that the All Progressive Congress (APC) Taraba State has no locus standi first of all because they went into the 2019 General Elections without a candidate among other electoral requirements.
Justice Eko held that a candidate who did not participate in an election can not be allocated with votes and can not also be declared a winner.
He further declared that all votes cast for APC during the 2019 elections was void, invalid and wasted votes.
The court finally declared Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku as the winner of the March 9th 2019 Governorship elections with the highest number of lawful votes in compliance with the provisions of the electoral act.
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.
October 16, 2019
A few days ago, a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Taraba State, Hassan Jika Ardo, gathered a few members of his league of friends in the media in Jalingo, Taraba State, and gave them a good dose of lies against the person and the administration of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku and, at the end, called for the impeachment of the Governor.
The exercise, clearly, was a product of the frustrations of the APC leaders in the state arising from the serial humiliating defeats which the party suffered in the hands of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the gubernatorial elections of March 9, 2019 in the state and in the petitions it brought against the outcome of that election to the tribunal and the court of Appeal.
Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku has not committed any impeachable offence and the Taraba State House Assembly will not do the bidding of the APC just to pacify members of the party who are still nursing the wounds of electoral defeats.
Members of the Taraba State House of Assembly are responsible and patriotic political leaders from their various constituencies in the state and would not act as agents of destabilization for the APC.
We urge the Honourable members to ignore the ranting of the frustrated APC member.
The administration of Arc. Darius Ishaku has been the most prudent in resource management in the history of the state.
From the meager resources that come into the state monthly, salaries, pensions and gratuities are being paid regularly every month.
Numerous projects have also been executed. The state now has functioning hospitals. It never did for several decades.
Water now flows to most homes in our towns. The 300 boreholes in 300 communities’ initiative of Governor Ishaku has taken water to virtually all communities in the state.
Education has experienced the best attention under Ishaku. Many primary and secondary schools have been renovated and provided with instructional materials.
The employment of 3,000 rescue teachers by the administration also dramatically raised the level of instruction in both primary and secondary schools. The result has shown positively in the state’s WAEC performances under the administration.
From a miserable 20 percent in 2015 when Ishaku took over as governor, the scores jumped to 67.3 percent in 2017 and to 75.3 percent in 2018.
The reactivation of nine moribund government companies which has provided thousands of job opportunities for indigenes of the state and the empowerment of over 4,000 women and youths under the skill acquisition programmes of Governor Ishaku and the Hope Afresh programme of his wife, Barr. Anna Ishaku, are all evidences of the humane disposition of the Ishaku administration.
The Ishaku administration was also in 2018 acknowledged and honoured by the Yola Electricity Distribution Company as the state that provided and installed the highest number of transformers in the entire North East region of the country.
What that translated to is that Governor Ishaku provided more electricity for the state than any other Governor in the zone.
The achievements of the Ishaku administration are innumerable.
The APC can never succeed in altering facts that are on the table for everyone to see.
The call by Hassan Jika Ardo for the impeachment of Governor Ishaku is only a product of bitterness from the humiliating electoral defeat of the APC in the 2019 elections.
We urge the APC leaders in the state to purge themselves of this bitterness and join hands with the government to work for peace and development of Taraba State.
Bala Dan Abu
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity