The Court of Appeal sitting in Jos yesterday upheld the elections of Governor Simon Lalong and his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, in the March 9 governorship election in their states.
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State, Jeremiah Useni, had challenged the declaration of Lalong of the All Progressives Congress (APC) while Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, the APC candidate in Bauchi challenged the victory of the PDP’s Bala Mohammed.
Delivering judgment on that of Lalong vs Useni, the five-man panel of justices led by Justice J.O. Bada said Lalong’s victory was valid, thereby throwing out Useni’s appeal on the ground of irregularities.
The court which said Useni’s appeal lacked merit also fined the appellants N200,000 in favour of the second and third respondents.
Reacting to the judgment, Lalong described his victory as yet another collective victory for the entire people of Plateau State and a validation of the will of the people.
Lalong in a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Makut Simon Macham, said he was not surprised by the court verdict and had never doubted the validity of the people’s mandate reposed in him and the APC.
He urged the PDP and Useni to join hands with him in moving the state forward.
Delivering judgment on that of Bala Mohammed and Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, the panel dismissed all the four grounds of appeal filed by the APC and its candidate.
Justice O. A. Otisi held that all the grounds of appeal filed before the court by the appellants lacked merit and thereby dismissed them.
Counsel to the Bauchi State governor, Chris Uche, hailed the judgment, describing it as a victory for democracy. He called on the people of Bauchi State to continue to support the administration.