The Nasarawa State government says the recent heckling by the opposition against the judgment of the Court of Appeal which reinstated Governor Abdullahi Sule exposes the opposition party’s inclination to tribal politics. This view is expressed by the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Sule on Public Affairs, Hon. Peter Ahember via a press statement on Monday. The SSA who was responding to Saturday’s protest in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital against the judgment, said “the call on the international community to intervene in the internal affairs of the State and tagging some ethnic groups as foreigners is laughable and has further exposed the opposition PDP of its ethnic agenda in the politics of Nasarawa State.” He therefore reminded the Party and its leaders to keep in mind that Nasarawa State is multi-ethnic and of diverse religions hence no one ethnic group or religion has the capacity to produce the governor of the State without the support of the others.”
Ahember also said that the protest which was undertaken by a group called ‘Coalition of Indigenous People of Nasarawa State was masterminded by the PDP to impugn the judgment of the Court of Appeal which reversed the split verdict of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, GEPT, which had earlier sacked Sule as the governor of the State. He noted that the idea of the protest was to “discredit the courageous, sound and firm judgment of the Appeal Court and blackmail the nation’s judiciary for choosing to look at the appeal brought before it by the Governor on its merit rather than primordial sentiments,” he said.
He added that the government condemns the PDP’s tactics deployed in its quest for power. “We therefore condemn this show of desperation for power and urge security agencies in the State note this dangerous rhetoric hovering very close to the instigating hate amongst citizens by the opposition and its sponsored groups in the State.” He noted that while the PDP was working in cahoots with some highly-placed individuals, including a retired military general to undermine democracy in Nasarawa State, the government trusts the judiciary for its professionalism and fairness, to do justice based on the facts of the case presented before it, since the governor was popularly elected by the people of Nasarawa State.
A majority judgment of two to one of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, GEPT had in October, annulled the election of Governor Abdullahi Sule, citing substantial non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022. The Independent national Electoral Commission was ordered to withdraw the certificate of return issued him and give same to David Ombugadu of the PDP.
Dissatisfied with the verdict, Governor Sule and the APC approached the Court of Appeal, praying it to set aside the judgment of the Tribunal and uphold his election as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission in March. The Appeal Court about two weeks ago upturned the judgment of the Tribunal and affirmed Sule as the validly elected governor of the State.