By Garry Ochigbo
The Appeal Court in Abuja has upturned the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Lau Constituency of Taraba State Emmanuel George.
The Taraba Elections Petitions Tribunal in Jalingo, had declared Emmanuel George of APC as the dully elected member, upturning the victory of Nuhu Akila of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who was earlier announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC in the election.
Akila who was dissatisfied with the decision of the Tribunal, approached the Appeal Court to challenge George who won at the Tribunal.
Justice Uchechukwu Onyemenam who led the three panel of justices in the appeal, affirmed that, Akila who was declared by INEC in the election is the dully elected member for Lau Constituency of Taraba State.
The Appellate court held that, the Tribunal erred in law when it relied on wrongfully admitted evidence to nullify Akila’s election victory.
It noted that, only few of the documents that were tendered in evidence were obtained from the constituency adding that the trial court admitted and acted on illegal or inadmissible evidence adding that the court of law is allowed to act on only legally admissible evidence or documents.
It held that, section 285(5) of the 1999 constitution, 132(7) of the electoral act and paragraph 14(5) of the third schedule to the electoral act, provided that written statement of witnesses must be filed alongside a petition, within the time limited for filing of such petition.
The court held that, the evidence of PW3 in the matter was not credible enough to prove over voting, noting that the witness was not personally present at the eight polling units where the alledged infractions occurred.
While setting aside the decision of the Tribunal, the Appellate court also voided the order that directed INEC to withdraw the certificate of return that was given to Akila.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen after the judgement counsel to Emmanuel George, Barrister Pius Damba and the APC Chairman for Taraba State, Barrister Tukur El-Sudi expressed dissatisfaction with the judgment of the appellate Court
Edited By Grace Namiji
Written by: Kevin Nwabueze
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