Law News
Court dismisses Alhassan’s appeal, affirms Taraba gov’s election

The Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed the election of Mr. Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party as the Governor of Taraba State.

In its unanimous judgment, a seven-man bench of the apex court upheld Ishaku’s election after dismissing the appeal filed against him by the All Progressives Congress’ governorship candidate in the April 11, 2015 poll, Aisha Alhassan.

Alhassan, now Minister of Women Affairs, had won at the Taraba State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which sat in Abuja, with the Danladi Abubakar-led tribunal ordering Ishaku’s removal and directing that the APC candidate be issued with a fresh Certificate of Return and be sworn in as governor of the state.

The tribunal’s judgment delivered on November 7, 2015 was based on alleged non-compliance of the conduct of PDP’s primary, from which Ishaku emerged as the party’s governorship candidate with the provisions of sections 85 and 87 of the Electoral Act.

Dissatisfied with the tribunal’s judgment, Ishaku had appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal subsequently ruled in favour of the governor and set aside the judgment of the tribunal on the basis that Alhassan, not being a member of the PDP, lacked the locus standi to challenge the validity of the primary which produced Ishaku as the party’s candidate.

Alhassan, who was also not satisfied with the judgment of the appellate court, appealed to the Supreme Court.

But the apex court, led by Justice Ibrahim Galadima, on Thursday, affirmed the earlier verdict of the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, delivered on December 31, 2015.

The Supreme Court delivered the judgment a few hours after hearing Alhassan’s appeal on Thursday.

Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, who read the summary of the lead judgment, held that Alhassan’s appeal lacked merit.

Briefly explaining it’s position, the apex court said the nomination of candidates to stand election was an internal affair of political parties.

Justice Rhodes-Vivour agreed with the decision of the Court of Appeal that only members of a party, and who participated in the primary, had the right to challenge the outcome of the exercise or its conduct.

Justice Rhodes-Vivour held, “I am of the firm view that there is no merit in this appeal and it is hereby dismissed.”

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