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The Court of Appeal in Abuja has returned Abdullahi Sule of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as governor of Nasarawa State after setting aside a Tribunal decision which voided his election and instead declared David Ombugadu of the People’s Democratic Party winner.

The three-member Appeal Court panel led by Justice Uchechukwu Onyemenam this Thursday said the Tribunal acted in error by failing to consider the issue of jurisdiction before arriving at its judgment on October 2.

In a the lead judgment read by Justice Onyemenam, the Appellate Court holds that the Tribunal had a fundamental duty to hear issues of jurisdiction before going ahead to hear the main case, as failing to do so renders the outcome null and void.

It holds further that the Tribunal’s failing to hear Sule’s issue on jurisdiction raised during the Tribunal proceedings renders it in breach of his rights to fair hearing.

Speaking on the merit of the the case, the Appellate Court says David Ombugadu and the PDP didn’t have enough grounds to sustain the claim of over voting which was key among reasons for the Tribunal voiding the election of Abdullahi Sule of the APC.

This follows the dismissal of the from the list of evidence those of subpoenaed witnesses whose written statements on oath were not front loaded in accordance with the Electoral Act.

The Appellate Court, further holds that Ombugadu and the PDP could not prove over voting owing to their failure to produce original INEC documents, adding that the Tribunal therefore erred in deducting 1,868 votes of Sule in four polling units.

On the contentious Chiroma and Gayam ward, the Court holds that Ombugadu and PDP brought witnesses whose statements are borne out of hearsay.

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