The Jos Division of the Court of Appeal has heard and adjourned for judgement the appeal of the Bauchi election petition brought before it by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its defeated candidate in the last gubernatorial election, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar.
It will be recalled that the Election Petition Tribunal had on 7th October, 2019 dismissed the petition of the APC and its candidate in the election and affirmed the victory of Sen Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir as the duly elected Governor of Bauchi State, a judgement that was appealed.
According to the Lead Counsel to the APC and the defeated candidate, Hassan Liman, their main ground of appeal was over-voting recorded during the conduct of the election which gave victory to the PDP and its candidate, Sen Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir.
The Lead Counsel, therefore, urged the Appeal Court to dismiss the judgement of the trial tribunal and declare his client winner of the election or at most order for a fresh election.
In their respective replies, the Lead Counsel to the PDP, Chris Uche, Lead Counsel to INEC, Illo Sunusi and the Lead Counsel to PDP, Ibrahim Isiyaku all submitted that the issue of over-voting as claimed by the appellant does not hold water as all the witnesses they called during the trial at Tribunal agreed that there was no over voting as claimed.
Chris Uche and his colleagues, therefore, urged the Appeal Court to dismiss the appeal for lack of merit and affirm the judgement of the trial Tribunal which was in their favour.
After listening to the submissions of all the parties, the five members Appeal Court adjourned for judgement saying that the date will be communicated to the parties.
In his reaction to the development, Bauchi State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dr Ladan Salihu said that “the presence of the large convoy of supporters from all the LGAs in the state is an affirmation of the support of the entire citizens of the state for Governor Bala Mohammed.”
He added that, “They are in Jos to tell the world that they voted in a free fair and credible election. They are here to give moral support to our Lawyers. The people of Bauchi State irrespective of their political persuasions take their mandate seriously. If this court session were to hold in Lagos you will see a larger Convoy”.
The Commissioner concluded that, “They are here to support and endorse the Independence of the Judiciary and the people are confident that the Court will at the end of it all uphold the verdict of the Election Petition Tribunal”.
In his own reaction, Bauchi State PDP Chairman, Hamza Koshe Akuyam declared that, “we defeated them at polls, won the case at the Tribunal, by the grace of God we are going to win here at the Appeal Court again”.
Koshe Akuyam reassured the people of Bauchi State that the PDP-led administration will continue to offer services to the people in order to develop the state and leave it better than it met it.