A/court affirms victory of lone PDP reps member in Borno
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has affirmed the victory of Rep. Midala Usman Balami of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), as the duly elected member representing Hawul/Askira/Uba Federal Constituency of Borno State.
Balami is the only PDP member who emerged victorious in the 2023 general election in Borno State.
The court in a unanimous decision on Friday by a three-member panel of justices, dismissed the appeal filed before it by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Tarpaya Asarya, now Commissioner for Trade and Investment in Borno for lack of merit.
Upholding the verdict, the appellate court panel led by Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, held that under section 285(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the tribunal had a special jurisdiction to only determine whether anyone was validly elected.
It held that the scope of the jurisdiction conferred on the tribunal by the Constitution could not be expanded to include the determination of the validity of the conduct of primary election or nomination of candidates by political parties.
The court held that though the issue of eligibility of a candidate is both a pre and post election matter, “the Appellants however chose a wrong venue to ventilate their grievances,” it added.
It held that contrary to claim by the appellants, INEC, confirmed that results were cancelled in only five polling units in the constituency.
The court held that whereas the margin of lead claim of the APC and its candidate was based on voters register, they, however, failed to indicate the number of Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) were collected in the affected polling units.
It held that the Electoral Act 2022 introduced a new electoral regime that entailed the use of collected PVCs and number of accredited voters to establish the voting population of every polling unit.
Consequently, it resolved the case against the Appellants and dismissed the appeal.
Reacting to the judgement, Balami expressed gratitude to God and lauded the judiciary for being upright in confirming the will of the electorates.
Balami said the victory would ginger him to ensure quality representation for his people.
He then urged his opponent to sheath the sword and accept the outcome with the spirit of sportsmanship and join him to move the constituency to a more greater height.
The formidable legal team that defended Balami’s mandate is led by
Chief Titus O. Ashaolu, SAN; Gbenga A. Ashaolu, Esq.,Llm, Fatima A. Shehu Esq., (Mrs.); Christopher O. Richard Esq., amongst others, While that of PDP was led by Tale Alabi Esq., Llm, Fcia, and Ibrahim H. Ngada Esq.; B. F. Folorunsho amongst others.
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