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Supreme Court okays Ebonyi gov Nwifuru’s election victory

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The Supreme Court of Nigeria has upheld the election victory of Governor Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi State, dismissing the appeals challenging his victory by the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

Delivering the lead judgment, Justice Tijjani Abubakar stated that the appeals lodged by Chief Ifeanyi Odii and Prof. Benard Odoh were “patently unmeritorious.”

The Supreme Court found no grounds to overturn the concurrent verdicts of the Ebonyi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, which affirmed Nwifuru’s election.

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Governor Nwifuru, a member of the All Progressives Congress, was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission with a total of 199,131 votes across the 13 Local Government Areas of the state. His closest rival, Dr. Odii of the PDP, scored 80,191 votes.

Both the PDP and APGA candidates challenged Nwifuru’s victory at the tribunal, citing alleged certificate forgery, corruption, and non-compliance with electoral laws.

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They also claimed that Nwifuru did not validly resign from the PDP before being nominated as the APC’s governorship candidate.

The tribunal, in its judgment on September 27, 2023, dismissed all petitions as lacking in merit. It held that the petitioners failed to establish their allegations and lacked the locus standi to challenge Nwifuru’s nomination by the APC.

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The Court of Appeal subsequently upheld the tribunal’s decision on November 24, leading to the recent dismissal by the Supreme Court.

Justice Tijjani Abubakar affirmed the judgments of the lower courts, stating that the appellants failed to prove their case regarding non-compliance with relevant laws and Nwifuru’s party membership.

The Supreme Court’s decision solidifies Governor Nwifuru’s position as the legitimate winner of the gubernatorial election in Ebonyi State.

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