The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Gombe on Wednesday, upheld the return of Ahaji Ibrahim Dankwambo of the PDP as the duly elected governor of Gombe State.
Delivering judgement on the petition filed by the APC and its gubernatorial candidate in the state, Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Mohammad Sirajo, held that the petitioners had not mustered enough evidence to prove their allegations of electoral malpractice and irregularity.
He said that the allegations of violence during the election, over-stuffing and snatching of ballot boxes as well as falsification of results, were criminal in nature that needed to be proved “beyond all reasonable doubts”.
The Chairman noted that the petitioners had failed to discharge their responsibility of providing enough proof that would warrant the granting of their prayers.
He therefore dismissed the petition for lack of merit and upheld the return of Dankwambo as the governor of the state.
In his reaction after the verdict, counsel to the petitioners, Barr. Abdulganiyu Bello, said he would consult with his clients to decide on the next line of action.
“We are all members to the temple of justice; I urge our supporters to take it easy, this is just the first step,” he told newsmen.
However, Counsel to Gov. Dankwambo who was the First Respondents, Barr Zubairu Mohammed, hailed the verdict, describing it as fair.
“We deserve the victory because all the grounds of petition were very weak”
“We are grateful to Almighty God for seeing us through to the end of this case,” he said.
Barr.Yahaya Dangana, counsel to the third Respondents, INEC, said the judgment was a clear vindication of his client.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Yahaya and his party, the APC, were challenging the returned of Dankwambo as the elected governor in the April 11 general elections.