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Supreme Court affirms election of Francis Nwifuru as Ebonyi governor

Ebonyi state governor, Francis Nwifuru [Photo: Twitter]

The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Francis Nwifuru as the governor of Ebonyi State.

Justice Tijjani Abubakar, who delivered the judgment on Friday, dismissed the appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Chukwuma Odii.

Mr Abubakar described the appeal as lacking in merit.

The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal had earlier affirmed the election of Mr Nwifuru as the duly elected governor of Ebonyi.

In a unanimous decision, the three-member panel led by Justice Jummai Sankey dismissed the appeal filed by Mr Odii.

The panel also resolved all five issues against the appellant and dismissed the appeal for lacking merit.

Justice Sankey held that the PDP and its candidates lacked the legal right to meddle in the internal affairs of the All Progressives Congress as they related to the nomination of candidates.

The Ebonyi governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja had upheld the election of Mr Nwifuru.

INEC declared Mr Nwifuru the election winner after he polled 199,131 votes to defeat his closest challenger, Mr Odii, who garnered 80,191 votes.

Benard Odoh came third with 52,189 votes. He and his party, the APGA, challenged the declaration of Mr Nwifuru as the state’s elected governor and asked the tribunal to nullify his election on the grounds of alleged certificate forgery and “ineligibility” to stand for the election.

The APGA candidate, a geophysics professor, contended that Mr Nwifuru, at the time of the election, was still a member of the PDP and therefore ineligible to be sponsored for the election by the APC.

Mr Odoh further argued that Mr Nwifuru was not qualified to stand for the election because he allegedly submitted a fake certificate to INEC.

He urged the tribunal to order a second election between the other two candidates who scored the highest number of votes at the previous election and exclude the governor from participating.

(NAN)

Source: Peoples Gazette

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