The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, Wednesday, reinstated Joshua, the son of Prof. Jerry Gana, as the House of Representatives member representing Edati/Lavun/Mokwa Federal Constituency of Niger State under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform.
Recall that the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunal had sacked Joshua following a petition filed by the candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr Abdullahi Usman Gbatamagi.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Gana as the winner of the election with 47,942 votes while Gbatamagi was said to have scored 40,003 votes.
Dissatisfied, Gbatamagi, through his Counsel, Johnson Usman, SAN, challenged the election results, alleging electoral malpractice and non-compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022.
Passing its judgment, the three-member panel of the tribunal led by Justice Sylvester Godspower held that the margin of lead at the poll was less than the permanent voter cards (PVCs) collected in the disputed polling units where elections were canceled.
The tribunal nullified Gana’s election while ordering a fresh supplementary election be conducted in the 26 polling units in 90 days.
Gana then approached the Court of Appeal for final redress. In its judgment on Wednesday, Justice Daniel Kahiru held that any evidence wrongly admitted in a Tribunal is a serious issue and an appellate court has the duty to expunge such documents.
The judge held that a written witness statement on oath must accompany a petition but said that did not happen at the Tribunal, adding that the evidence relied on to sack Gana was incompetent.
“This appeal is allowed. The judgment of the Election Petition in Minna is hereby set aside,” the court held while affirming the election victory of Gana.