ANALYSIS: What next for Mama Taraba?
• Ishaku: ‘It’s totally unacceptable’
• This is victory for democracy, says APC
• Jubilation in Jalingo
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has cried out and vehemently rejected the dismissal of the Governor of Taraba State, Darius Ishaku, by the State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.
PDP accused the presidency of manipulating the judiciary against it and claimed that the court’s decision was another proof of executive interference by the APC government in judicial matters.
PDP and the sacked governor has a lot to say about the judgement...
Ishaku himself dismissed the tribunal’s verdict as totally unacceptable even as some residents of Jalingo openly celebrated after news of the development filtered in from Abuja where it was delivered.
APC National Woman Leader, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, hailed the ruling as victory for democracy.
The tribunal had proclaimed Hajia Aisha Jummai Alhassan, the APC candidate in the election, as winner.
It said Ishaku was not properly nominated by PDP and therefore was not qualified to contest the election.
According to The Nation report, Ishaku is the third PDP governor after Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom and Nyesom Wike of Rivers to lose at election tribunal after the April elections.
The PDP had earlier blamed the federal government, the judiciary and INEC for its woes.
Reacting to the verdict, PDP said the reason given by the tribunal for arriving at the decision was intriguing and only exposed what it dubbed contradictions and double standards inherent in most tribunal rulings against its interests as well as organized plan to deploy all unorthodox means to decimate them.
“Evidence that Taraba ruling was a product of presidency manipulation can be deduced from the fact that few hours before the judgment was delivered, the APC had arrogantly announced their victory on the new media,” PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh said in a statement.
He also faulted the premise on which the tribunal based its decision, saying: “it is rather curious and a great conflict of irony that the Taraba tribunal sitting in Abuja on security grounds faulted the conduct of PDP primaries shifted to the same Abuja on security reasons.”
The party argued that if the tribunal faulted PDP primaries, it then means that no APC gubernatorial candidate can stand the test because, according to him, the APC never had acceptable primaries in any of the states it won.
He said: “the PDP wants democracy watchers globally to recall that it had earlier alerted the nation and the international community to the grand design by the APC to use the judiciary to wrestle some PDP states, particularly Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Taraba states.
He said the PDP is totally confounded by what he called the brazing show of power by the executive and warned that the development clearly portends grave danger to democracy and indeed national cohesion and development.
In Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, Mr. Ishaku dismissed the tribunal’s verdict that voided his election as totally unacceptable.
“This is totally unacceptable. I have told my legal counsel to proceed to the Court of Appeal immediately.”
He said, “I’m going to appeal the judgment. So I want the people of Taraba to remain calm. It is the mandate that they overwhelmingly gave me that I am serving the state. We shall do everything possible within the ambit of the law to see that their will is not thwarted.”
But APC's Hajiya Aliyu said the will of the people freely expressed through the ballot cannot be upturned at the whims and caprices of a few individuals.
The ruling, according to her “is a clear affirmation that no matter how long it takes, never will the verdict of the people during elections be manipulated against their popular choice as expressed through the ballot box. Indeed, by the ruling, it has been proven that in a true democracy, sovereignty ultimately resides with the inviolable will of the people.”
She commended the judiciary for its “boldness and unfettered commitment to the sacred principles of honour, good conscience and the truth. Indeed, it has shown that its role as the defender of the defenceless in a democracy remains strong and sacred.”
She asked Nigerian women to “rally support for the Tribunal’s ruling, especially in the circumstance that it remains a priceless watershed in our political history for our great Part to produce the first elected female Governor in Nigeria as desired and manifestly expressed by the electorate in Taraba State.”
Soon after news of the tribunal’s verdict reached Jalingo, residents of Agwan Gaadi, Barde way, Wuro-Sambo and Angwani areas took to the streets in jubilation.
APC supporters were seen jubilating and shouting “APC!, Sai Baba!!