The Supreme Court yesterday fixed March 2 and 6 for judgment in the appeals against Governors Danbaba Suntai (Taraba) and Martins Elechi (Ebonyi) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The apex court fixed the dates after parties adopted their briefs of argument.
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate, Senator Danlami Ikenya, is challenging the victory of Suntai of the PDP, while Senator Julius Ucha of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) is challenging the victory of Elechi.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) returned Suntai as winner of the April 26, 2011 governorship election with 361,176 votes against Ikenya’s 154,665 votes.
Ikenya lost at the tribunal as Justice Luka Abba on November 10 last year ruled that “the petitioners (Ikenya and ACN) failed to establish relevant evidence to prove their allegations.”
The Appeal Court sitting in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, last month upheld the tribunal’s verdict, striking out the appeal filed by Ikenya “for lack of merit.”
His lead counsel, Festus Idepefo, told the apex court yesterday that the Appeal Court ruled in error by giving judgment in favour of Suntai without any reason.
“Only the Supreme Court has the power to do that,” he said.
He asked the court to order a retrial of the case by another appeal court.
But the PDP urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lack of merit. The party urged the court to discountenance the argument that the election did not comply with the Electoral Act 2010 and 2011 Election Guidelines.
Counsel to Ucha Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN) asked the apex court to declare his client the rightful winner of the election based on the minimal pleading.
Counsel to Elechi Mr. J.O. Ibike (SAN) contended that the appellant failed to substantiate his allegation of non-compliance.
He asked the court to dismiss the appeal as unmeritorious.
The Supreme Court will, also on March 6, deliver judgment in an appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate in Nasarawa State, Aliyu Doma.
The appellants are challenging the April 26, 2011 victory of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).