Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Bauchi State gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, has won the governorship election in the state.
Mohammed defeated the incumbent Governor Muhammed Abubakar of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Announcing the result, the new collation officer of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area, Dr Musa Dahiru of the Federal University Kashere, said that PDP polled 515,113 while APC had 500,625 votes; with a margin of 14,488 votes.
Meanwhile, the governorship election has been dogged with a legal tussle, especially on the results of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area.
This was just as the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, cleared the coast for INEC to proceed with the collation of the result of the March 9 governorship election; after it dismissed the suit challenging the exercise.
In his judgment, Justice Inyang Ekwo, also vacated the restraining order made against INEC from continuing with the exercise.
Having removed the legal impediment, the development has cleared the coast for INEC to proceed with the collation of the result from Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area.
Justice Ekwo agreed that his court and the Election Petition Tribunal had concurrent jurisdiction to review INEC’s decision to reverse its earlier decision to conduct a supplementary election in Tafawa Balewa, until the final results of the election are announced.
He noted, however, that it was more appropriate to allow the Election Petition Tribunal to hear the complaints of the plaintiffs, since the tribunal would have broader jurisdiction to hear the complaint and the ones that would arise after the final results had been announced, and the winner returned.
After declining jurisdiction to hear the substantive case, the judge ruled, yesterday, that “the defendant (INEC) should be allowed to continue its constitutional duty.
“There is no legal impediment before the defendant to go on with the decision of the defendant to execute its decision in its press release,” the judge ruled.
The plaintiffs, in their originating summons, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/299/2019, the All Progressives Congress (APC)and its candidate in the governorship election in the state, Governor Mohammed Abubakar, challenged INEC’s decision to resume collation of results of an election that was earlier declared inconclusive.
They prayed the court to compel the electoral body to go ahead with the March 23 election; instead of reversing itself on the earlier announcement.
Meanwhile, the electoral body, in its counter-affidavit, urged the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain it.
The affidavit, deposed to by Hassan Adamu, an INEC officer, said: “Contrary to paragraph 22 of affidavit in support of Originating Summons, I state that the decision by the defendant to conclude collation for Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State was made based on the figures contained in the duplicates of results of the election.
“Contrary to paragraph 29 of the affidavit in support of Originating Summons, I state that: Only an Election Petition Tribunal has the jurisdiction to review the decision of the Commission. The decision of the Returning Officer referred to is in respect of declaration of scores and return of candidate, which is the exclusive reserve of the Election Petition Tribunal.