26th September, 2023
By Hajara Leman
The Gombe State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Tuesday dismissed the petitions filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Jibril Barde and that of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and its candidate, Mr Nafiu Bala, challenging the victory of Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 18 March governorship election.
The ADC had in its petition, challenged the declaration of Yahaya as the winner of the election over an alleged multiplicity and variations in the arrangement of names on the certificates of his deputy without accompanying affidavits to prove authenticity.
But delivering judgement on Tuesday in Gombe, the three-man panel headed by Justice S.B. Belgore struck out the matter, saying that it was a pre-election issue.
The Tribunal declared that the deputy governor had met the minimum requirement to run in the election.
“I affirm that the petition by the ADC against the return of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya as the duly elected governor of Gombe State lacks merit on all fronts and that the election of the first and second respondents as winners of the March 18th guber polls is valid and lawful,” the judge said.
On its part, the PDP had alleged that Yahaya was not re-elected by a majority of the lawful votes, alleging that multiple thumb printing and ballot box stuffing were carried out across various polling units in nine out of the 11 local government areas of the state to favour Inuwa Yahaya.
But the Tribunal described the petition of the PDP as “vague and baseless”, saying the petitioners failed to provide witnesses and proof to back their claims.
INEC had declared Yahaya the winner of the election with 342,821 votes to beat his closest rival, PDP’s Jibrin Barde, who polled 233,131.