Appeal Court Judgement: Anxiety Mounts In Taraba

ANDREW OJIH writes on the political activities before, during and after the nullification of Governor Darius Ishaku’s victory by the Taraba State Election petition Tribunal.

Without a doubt, the judgement by the Taraba State Governorship Election petition Tribunal which nullified the victory of incumbent governor, Arch. Darius Ishaku, has thrown up diverse political situations in the state.
The tribunal, in faulting the primaries that produced Ishaku, said he was not sponsored by PDP or any political party as demanded by law.
It therefore declared Senator Jummai Alhassan, the present minister of Women Affairs, who was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), winner of the election.
From criticism to angst and protests, residents of the state, according to political leanings, have been both jubilant and miffed by the outcome of the ruling.
In same vein, there is a sense of measured calmness, among voters, irrespective of party difference, as they anticipate what next for the major contenders for Taraba’s top job.
Analysts have argued that the issue of political godfatherism, injustice and religious sentiments do play important roles in the political setting of the state.
The current governor allegedly enjoyed the blessings of a political big wig from the state, such that during the primaries he he seemingly had preferential treatments that went all the way up to the presidency under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
At the time, besides Sen. Alhassan, of the APC, Chief David Kente, made a presence under the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Chief Kente at the beginning was favoured by elders of Southern Taraba, until a meeting was allegedly later convened where people of the area decided to shift their support for Ishaku.
However, Kente did not hide his disappointment over the injustice done him by the southern Taraba elites. It however prompted him to call a press briefing at that time, where he said despite the development, he will not step down, but will work hard to clinch the number one position in the state.
While Ishaku and Kente battled, deploying tactics that hurt their core political base, Sen. Alhassan, a formidable force in her right, consolidated.
Political pundits believed that despite daring to compete in a politically male dominated environment, Aisha showed political prowess and savvy.
Indeed she proved that she is not new to the terrain, having defeated a sitting governor, Reverend Jolly Nyame, to clinch a senate position in the past.
As such it was not surprising that Sen. Aisha’s pursued her gubernatorial quest up to Taraba State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.
With the outcome of the tribunal’s judgement, the two major political parties have been thrown into quandary.
For the PDP, the aftermath of tribunal’s verdict resulted in members deserting the state party secretariat.
The PDP office in the state has been completely deserted while few members were seen wearing gloomy faces as non of the official were found in any offices.
The mood in the state capital, Jalingo, is not different as the faith of those appointed commissioners and special advisers recently hang in the balance.
Supporters of the APC candidate, senator Aisha Alhassan have been jubilating round the streets, carrying placards and banners with description written “Mama Taraba Tadawo, Ishaku yatefi”.
An APC chieftain, Alhaji Sabo Kundi, said even if the PDP and its governorship candidate appeal the matter repeatedly, “Aisha would continue to win”. He added that the same verdict that sacked him at the tribunal will still remain the same if even if he goes to Supreme Court.
But a PDP supporter, Hajiya Alima Ainu vowed that the PDP would reclaim their verdict at the appeal court.
Recently, hundreds of women staged peaceful protest Jalingo, Taraba State capital to protest the ruling which ordered arch. Darius Ishaku vacate office.
The women, under the aegis of “Taraba PDP Women” marched through major streets of Jalingo, the Taraba State capital singing (Baba Ishaku mu ke so), meaning ‘it’s Baba Darius we want”.
Briefing journalists after the protest, leader of the women wing of the PDP in the state, Hajiya Fatima Hassan described the tribunal’s ruling as unfortunate, adding that the PDP conducted proper primaries that produced governor Ishaku as its sole candidate.
She added that majority of women from the sixteen local government areas of the state participated during the PDP’s primaries in Abuja.
Another group known as Taraba Volunteers for good governance few days later assured Tarabans that the appeal court would revise the kangaroo ruling of the Taraba State Governorship Election petition Tribunal that sacked incumbent governor from office.
The chairman of the group, Alhaji Abdulkadir Zanzago said the tribunal’s ruling was as an affront to democracy.
He stressed that in line with senator Aisha’s pleadings, the tribunal would have dismissed her petition on the ground of incompetence after she had proceeded to aver facts inconsistent with her grounds of petition.
He explained that the ground of her petition which challenged the nomination and sponsorship of governor Darius Ishaku was deemed abandoned in line with her pleadings to the contrary, as was held by the appellate court in Amosun vs Daniel.
He informed that the judgement of the election tribunal was an attempt to rob the good people of Taraba State of the mandate given to governor Darius.
But the Taraba State chapter of the coalition of APC Support Groups said Sen. Alhassan will still clinch victory at the appeal court.
The chairman of the group, Hon Jossy Maika said the declaration of senator Aisha Jumai Alhassan as the duly elected governor of Taraba State by the State Governorship Election Tribunal has laid to rest the notion that a woman can never become a governor in the country.
He stressed that the recent tribunal’s judgment that ordered governor Darius to vacate office would encourage women to seek elective positions and remove the restrictions that have laid them back from vying for certain elective posts.
He added that the tribunal’s ruling was a victory for all women in Taraba and indeed Nigerians.
“Let Tarabans and Nigerians learn how alway stand by the side of the truth, we all know that the PDP were the one who brought problem to themselves.
They willingly refused to conduct the governorship proper primaries as required by the law” he said.
According to him, governor Ishaku who contested under PDP was not nominated by his party as required.
He informed that Tarabans, APC supporters and indeed Nigerians are optimistic that Aisha would still defeat Ishaku at appellate court and Supreme Court respectively.
The wait is on for the Appeal Court judgement. However it plays out, it would in the long run impact on the development strides of the state.

- Leadership 

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