The election of Governor Agbu Kefas of Taraba State has been affirmed by the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Tuesday. The court unanimously dismissed the appeal filed by the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) and its candidate, Prof. Sani Yahaya, who challenged the result of the March 18 governorship election in the state.
The lead judgement was delivered by Justice Peter Affen, who said the court saw no merit in the appeal and agreed with the verdict of the Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal. The tribunal had declared Kefas of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the valid winner of the election on September 30.
However, the court faulted the tribunal for not striking out the petition, which it said was legally incompetent. The court noted that the petitioners contradicted themselves by seeking to nullify the election for non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022, and also asking to be declared the winner of the same election. The court said the petitioners should have sought these reliefs as alternatives, not as main reliefs.
The court described the petition as “patently incongruous” and said it lacked legal or factual basis. The court said the petitioners could not make inconsistent prayers at the same time.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had announced Kefas, a retired Nigerian Army Lieutenant Colonel, as the winner of the governorship election on March 21. Kefas polled 302,614 votes to defeat Yahaya of the NNPP, who scored 202,277 votes.
The NNPP and its candidate were dissatisfied with the outcome of the election and approached the tribunal, alleging that the election was not validly conducted.