Lafia, Nasarawa State– In a landmark ruling, the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Nasarawa State has nullified the election of Governor Abdullahi Sule of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and declared the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, David Emmanuel Ombugadu, as the rightful winner of the March 18, 2023, governorship election in the state.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ezekiel Ajayi, delivered the judgment virtually, affirming Ombugadu as the lawfully elected governor of Nasarawa State.
The tribunal’s decision comes after Ombugadu filed a legal challenge against Sule’s victory, citing irregularities in the election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Ombugadu alleged that his actual votes were unjustifiably reduced, while those of Abdullahi Sule were artificially inflated, particularly in the forms EC8Bs of Gayam and Chiroma Wards of Lafia Local Government Area.
The tribunal thoroughly examined the evidence presented and concluded that the petitioners had substantiated their claims. It found that incorrect votes were added to Sule’s tally, and therefore, the tribunal corrected the figures by adding back the votes that were initially reduced from David Ombugadu’s overall vote count. These corrections were based on certified copies of the polling unit results (forms EC8A) tendered by the petitioners.
In a significant development, the tribunal noted that the first, second, and third respondents (representing the APC and INEC) failed to produce any contrary set of forms EC8As throughout the trial, further bolstering the credibility of Ombugadu’s claims.
In its final analysis, the tribunal declared that the petition had substantial merit and granted the reliefs sought by the petitioners.
Consequently, the tribunal ordered the withdrawal of the certificate of return issued to Alhaji Abdullahi Sule of the APC and directed that it be issued to Dr. David Emmanuel Ombugadu as the duly elected governor of Nasarawa State.