PDP retains Taraba as ‘Mama Taraba’ loses at Appeal Court

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The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday ruled that Aisha Alhassan, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Taraba state governorship election had no locus standi – the right or capacity to appear in a court – to question the decision of the PDP.

Alhassan has lost her bid to replace Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as governor of the state.

The Abdul Aboki-led five-man panel ruled that the PDP fielded Ishaku and he was accepted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with no complaints.

INEC announced PDP’s Darius Ishaku as winner with 369,318 votes defeating APC’s Al-hassan who polled 275,984 at the ballot in April.

Though Aboki admitted the testimony of the INEC officer, who testified that the PDP primaries violated sections 85 and 87 of the electoral law, he said the APC had no locus standi on the matter.

Of the five issues raised by the appellant, two were in favour of the APC and another two of the PDP; while the last issue on declaring Alhassan automatic governor after tribunal’s disqualification of Ishaku, was overruled by the appeal.

Aboki ruled that it was “gross mis-direction” on the part of the tribunal to have declared Al-hassan as winner, declaring its initial decision as null and void, having violated the electoral act.

The election tribunal sitting in Abuja had declared on November 7 that Alhassan was as the duly elected governor, saying Ishaku did not emerge candidate of the PDP in a proper primary election.

He ruled that Alhassan, also known as ‘Mama Taraba’, be sworn in as governor of Taraba state because she came second in the poll.

The tribunal held that the governorship primaries conducted by the PDP in Taraba violated section 78 (b) (1)(2) of the electoral act which guides parties nomination to the position of governorship candidate.

It held that contrary to the provision of the section, PDP conducted the primaries at its national secretariat in Abuja with no clear delegation from the local government areas in the state.

Ishaku vowed to appeal, maintaining that he would win. He also said if the election was conducted 10 times, he would win 10 times.