Court of Appeal sacks Bauchi Speaker, orders rerun in 10 polling units
Story from Ahmad SAKA, Bauchi
The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, has sacked the Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Abubakar Yakubu Suleiman, from his seat as the member representing Ningi Central Constituency of Bauchi State, and ordered re-run elections in ten polling units.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the Ningi Central Constituency election held on March 18th, having scored 16, 866 votes to defeat his closest rival, Khalid Abdulmalik-Ningi of the All Progressives Congress, who scored 15, 065 votes.
Not satisfied with INEC’s declaration of the results of the election, the APC and its candidate Abdulmalik-Ningi challenged the declaration of Abubakar before the Governorship and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal.
However, the Tribunal dismissed his case and affirmed the victory of Abubakar for a second term in office.
Still not satisfied with the Tribunal’s judgment, Abdulmalik-Ningi went to the Court of Appeal to challenge the ruling. In its judgment on Friday, the Appellate Court’s three-man panel set aside the judgment of the Tribunal and ordered a rerun in ten polling units.
Abubakar was the immediate past chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria,
Reacting to the judgment, the Speaker, in a statement sent to reporters by his media aide Abdul Burra, described the judgment as a minor political setback that is not new to politics, adding that although the judgment is unfavourable, he urged his supporters to remain calm.
Abubakar said, “Following the Court of Appeal’s ruling in Abuja that set aside the judgment of the Election Petition Tribunal that affirmed the election of Speaker of Bauchi State House of Assembly Rt. Honourable Abubakar Y. Suleiman, as member representing Ningi Central and the order for a re-run in ten polling units, the Speaker urges his supporters and all people of the constituency to remain calm.
“He said that although the judgment is unfavourable, as a Muslim he believes in all fates, thus he accepts the judgment in good faith.
“While describing the judgment as a minor political setback which is not new in his political career, the Speaker said that he is ever ready for the re-run election to add to the almost two thousand votes margin he gave his opponent,” the statement said.
Abubakar said that the support and solidarity he has been enjoying in Ningi remain intact and no amount of effort to pull him down will succeed, adds that conducting a rerun in ten polling units that are his stronghold is just like a walkover, wondering why his opponents insisted on extending their pain of election defeat.
“He said that with the unprecedented infrastructural development initiated by Governor Bala Abdulkadir Muhammad in Ningi Local Government Area, PDP remains unbeatable in Ningi.”
The Speaker said that he will not relent in his efforts towards bringing dividends of democracy to the people of Ningi Central Constituency “no matter how some elements keep trying to pull him down.”