2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court

2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court

5 months ago
8 mins read

The 2023 governorship election in Nigeria has come and gone but the ripples of the outcome has continued to reverberate in the political landscape with series of court battles starting from the tribunals in various states up to the Supreme Court, the highest appellate body.

While some candidates won in the governorship elections held in 28 states, others lost and went to court to challenge the victory of their rivals.

Prime Business Africa’s Victor Ezeja writes that out of the 28 states, Court of Appeal judgments have been delivered in 21 states, while the cases for 11 states have been concluded at the Supreme Court and five are pending as of the time of this report.

The cases which started at various election petition tribunals in various states, shifted to Court of Appeal and finally to Supreme Court as aggrieved parties persisted in challenging the decisions of the lower courts.

On Friday, 12 January, the Supreme Court decided the fate of eight of the governors declared winners in the 2023 polls. The states are Abia, Bauchi, Cross River, Ebonyi, Kano, Lagos, Plateau, and Zamfara. The most contentious were that of Kano and Plateau where the governors were sacked by the lower courts.

Prior to Friday’s ruling, the Supreme Court had decided cases of Akwa Ibom, Benue, and Enugu, in favour of the governors, who were declared winners of the March 18 elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Abia

2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court

The Supreme Court affirmed the election of Alex Otti of the Labour Party as Governor of Abia State. A five-member panel of the Supreme Court dismissed the appeals by Okey Ahiwe, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Ikechi Emenike of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for lacking in merit.

Ahiwe and Emenike had argued that Otti was ineligible to run for office because he had falsified his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate and was not a registered member of the Labour Party.

The apex court, however, upheld the judgment of the lower courts which affirmed Otti as the valid winner of the governorship election in the state. It held that determining a candidate’s sponsorship is only a party affair and subsequently dismissed the appeals.

INEC had declared that Otti polled 175,466 votes to defeat Ahiwe, who garnered 88,529 votes.

Akwa Ibom

2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court
Umo Eno

The Supreme Court on Thursday, laid to rest the dispute between Governor Umo Eno of the PDP and opposition candidates in the governorship race in the state by ruling in favour of Eno.

APC and its candidate, Akan Udofia; YPP and its governorship candidate, Akpan Bassey, as well as that of NNPP and its governorship candidate, John Udoedehe had filed a petition challenging the declaration of Eno as the winner of the election. They had in their separate appeals alleged that Eno was not qualified to contest the election because, according to them, he forged his certificate. They urged the court to nullify the election.

However, the lead counsel to the litigants withdrew their appeals following a hint from the Supreme Court that they lacked merit.

The court in its ruling on Thursday, formally dismissed the appeals for lacking in merit and affirmed the earlier judgments of the tribunal and Court of Appeal.

Bauchi

2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court
Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed

In Bauchi State, the battle was between Governor Bala Mohammed of the PDP and the APC governorship candidate, Sadique Abubakar. Abubakar first challenged the declaration of Mohammed as winner of the election at the tribunal and subsequently proceeded to the Appeal Court after he lost at the tribunal. The Appeal Court also affirmed that Mohammed was validly elected. Dissatisfied with the ruling, Abubakar approached the Supreme Court to further challenge the election.

While delivering judgment on Abubakar’s appeal, a member of the Supreme Court panel, Ibrahim Saulawa, held that the APC candidate failed to prove his allegations of irregularities that substantially affected the outcome of the election.

The apex court dismissed the appeal and upheld the rulings of the lower courts.

Benue State

2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court

On 8 January, 2024, the Supreme Court delivered judgment on the Benue State 2023 governorship election dispute between Hyacinth Alia of the APC and Titus Uba of the PDP. Uba, a former speaker of the Benue State House Assembly, had challenged the declaration of Alia as winner of the March 18 election by INEC, but lost both at the tribunal and the Court of Appeal. He, thereafter, approached the Supreme Court to further seek removal of Alia from office through nullification of the polls.

However, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice John Okoro said issues raised in the appeal did not qualify as post-election matters and thereafter dismissed the case in favour of Alia. Alia, who is a Roman Catholic Priest dropped the pulpit to join partisan politics as he seek to create a change in the state.

Cross River

2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court

For Cross River State, the Supreme Court also affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal which had affirmed the victory of Governor Bassey Otu of the APC in the 2023 governorship election in the state.

The PDP candidate in the state, Sandy Onor, had challenged the election of Otu at the tribunal and Court of Appeal and lost before he proceeded to the Supreme Court.

Onor, a professor, had contended that, Otu, a former member of the PDP, was not a bona fide member of the APC and was not qualified to stand as a candidate of the APC as at the time he did.

However, the apex court upheld the rulings of the lower courts which struck out his appeal for lack of merit. The court held that Otu’s defection was of no consequence in his nomination as a candidate.

READ ALSO: 7 Outgoing Governors Who Lost Senatorial Seat

Delta

2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court

The governorship election dispute in Delta State 2023 is still at the Supreme Court. The apex on Tuesday, 9 January, reserved judgment in the appeals filed by the APC, and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) challenging the election of Sheriff Oborevwori of the PDP.

Former Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-agege of the APC filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal which was dismissed in a judgment delivered in November 2023. Dissatisfied with the outcome, he approached the Supreme Court for reversal. The court reserved judgment after all parties adopted their final brief.

Ebonyi

2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court
Governor Francis Nwifuru

 The Supreme Court also ruled in favour of the Ebonyi State Governor, Francis Nwifuru of the APC. The opposition candidate, Chukwuma Odii of the PDP challenged Nwifuru at the courts based on his nomination as candidate of the APC.

Odii contended that Nwifuru, a former member of the PDP at a time he was speaker of the state Houe of Assembly, was not validly nominated to be APC candidate. He lost the case both at the tribunal and Court of Appeal.

Delivering the lead judgment in the appeal on Friday, a member of the Supreme Court panel, Tijjani Abubakar, ruled in favour of Nwifuru.

He held that the appellant failed to prove his allegations of substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act, adding that the issue of party membership is an internal affair of a party and not for the court to decide.

Enugu

2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court
Peter mbah

The Supreme Court on 22 December 2023 upheld the judgment of the governorship election petition tribunal and Court of Appeal which validated the election of Peter Mbah of the PDP as governor of the state.

In a judgment delivered by a five-member panel of the court led by John Okoro, the court unanimously struck out the appeal by the Labour Party and its candidate, Chijioke Jonathan Edoga.

INEC had declared Mbah as winner of the governorship election with 160,895 votes. Edeoga of the LP polled 57,552 votes to take second position, while Frank Nweke of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) polled 17,983 votes to place third.

Kano

Breaking: Supreme Court Affirms Victory Of Kano Governor Abba Yusuf
Abba Kabir Yusuf Kano Governor

The Supreme Court on Friday affirmed that Abba Kabiru Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) was the duly elected governor in the March 18 Kano State election.

The Supreme Court panel held that the two lower courts erred in their judgments that ordered the removal of Yusuf as governor.

The APC candidate, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna had challenged the election at the Tribunal which sacked Yusuf from office. Yusuf went and appealed the judgment at the Court of Appeal and the court upheld the ruling of the tribunal. He further approached the apex court which quashed the judgment of the lower courts.

Lagos2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court

The legal battle between the incumbent governor, of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the APC and opposition candidates, Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran popularly known as Jandor of the PDP and Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party was also laid to rest on Friday.

The apex court dismissed separate appeals filed by Jandor and Rhodes-Vivour on the grounds that they lacked merit. The court upheld the decisions of the lower courts which had earlier affirmed Sanwo-Olu’s reelection on March 18.

INEC had declared Sanwo-Olu winner of the governorship election with 762,134 votes to beat Rhodes-Vivour who scored 312,329 votes, while Jandor of PDP came third with 62,449 votes.

Nasarawa

2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court
Abdullahi Sule

The governorship election dispute has been raging in Nasarawa between Governor Abdullahi Sule of the APC and David Ombugadu of the PDP. INEC had declared Sule, who was seeking reelection for second term, as winner of the polls. However, Ombugadu rejected the result and went to the tribunal which ruled in his favour. Sule appealed the tribunal ruling and the Court of Appeal dismissed the ruling, affirming Sule as winner of the election.

The apex court fixed January 16 for ruling on the matter.

Ogun

Fuel 2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court

After the Court of Appeal in Lagos held that Dapo Abiodun of the APC was the duly elected governor of Ogun State in the 2023 polls, the opposition candidate, Ladi Adebutu, of the PDP, went to the Supreme Court to seek nullification of the election.

The five-man panel of the court, after taking arguments from counsel in the appeal reserved judgment. The court announced that a date for judgment would be communicated to the parties in the matter.

Plateau

2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court
Caleb Mutfwang

Just like Kano, the Supreme Court also quashed the judgment of the Court of Appeal that sacked the governor, Caleb Mutfwang of the PDP.

Mutfwang was declared winner of the March 18 election, but the APC candidate, Nentawe Goshwe challenged the victory at the tribunal which ruled in favour of Mutfwang.

Gawuna and his party went to the Court of Appeal which overturned the tribunal judgment.

Dissatisfied, Mutfwang appealed the ruling at the Supreme Court. The apex court in its ruling on Friday, upheld the election of Mutfwang.

Rivers

2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court
Governor Fubara

With turbulence in Rivers State since the last two months caused by the conflict  between the governor, Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, the governor, who is of PDP is still faced with a legal battle with APC candidate, Tonye Cole, who is challenging his victory in the March 18 polls.

After losing the case both at the tribunal and Court of Appeal, Tonye Cole went to the Supreme Court to seek the removal of Fubara from office claiming that he was not qualified to contest the election let alone being declared winner.

INEC had declared Fubara winner after he polled 302, 614 votes to defeat his main challengers, Tonye Cole (APC), who scored 95,274 votes; Magnus Abe of the SDP, 46,981 votes; and Beatrice Itubo of the Labour Party,  22,224 votes.

The apex court has fixed January 15 for judgment.

Taraba

In Taraba, the SDP candidate, Professor Sani Yahaya, has approached the Supreme Court to seek invalidation of the ruling of the Court of Appeal in favour of Governor Agbu Kefas of the PDP.

Zamfara

2023 Elections: Governors, Candidates Who Won, Lost At Supreme Court

In Zamfara State, the battle was between Governor Dauda Lawal and former governor Bello Matawalle. INEC had declared Lawal of the PDP, governor having scored a total of 377,726 votes to defeat then incumbent governor Matawalle who scored 311,976 votes.

Matawalle challenged the outcome at the state governorship election petition. The tribunal dismissed Matawalle’s petition for being incompetent and lacking in merit and subsequently, upheld Lawal’s election in September 2023.

The former governor went to the Court of Appeal which nullified the declaration of Lawal as winner of the election.

Lawal appealed the matter at the Supreme court which on Friday overturned the Appeal Court’s ruling. The apex court declared that Lawal was validly elected.

INEC had declared that Lawal of the PDP won the election with a total of 377,726 votes. He defeated the incumbent governor, Matawalle of the APC, who scored 311,976 votes.

 


MOST READ

Follow Us

Latest from Politics

Don't Miss