By David Odama

A group under the aegis of Indigenous People of Nasarawa State, Saturday staged a peaceful protest against the Appeal Court judgement that upturned the Governorship Elections Petition Tribunal.

It would be recalled that on 2nd October 2023, a three-member Election Petition Tribunal led by Ezekiel Ajayi, had in a split judgement of two-to-one, declared the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP), Dr David Emmanuel Ombugadu the validly elected governor of the state during the March 18th, 2023 Governorship election.

Unsatisfied with the Tribunal judgement, Governor Abdullahi Sule filed an appeal requesting the Appeal Court to set aside the judgment and affirm his election as announced by INEC.

Dissatisfied with the Appeal Court judgement, a group comprising women, youths, and others across the 13 local government areas of the state, publicly rejected the judgement, urging the Supreme Court to examine critically the merit of the case and allow the voice of the majority to prevail over mere technicalities.

Addressing journalists after the protest, Convener of the group, Hon. Kefas Elisha Tigga, noted that the Appeal Court judgement was a mere judicial misplacement of justice, describing the judgement as disheartening and a threat to the Nigerian democratic system.

He said:” The new twist in the Appeal judgement has not only created a dangerous precedent that undermines the fundamental principle of majority rule. The rights of indigenous people as expressed through their votes must be protected and upheld without any compromise.

“For long now, Nasarawa State has been subjected to external control, primarily driven by economic exploitation, neglecting the welfare and security of our citizens and their properties. Our people have been under persecution based on either their religious beliefs or their ethnic affiliations.

“We are here today to shed light on the fact that Hon. David Emmanuel Ombugadu of the PDP rightfully won the governorship election held on March 18th, 2023. The wrongful declaration of Audu Sule as the winner by INEC was a clear deviation from the true democratic process.

“We are hereby calling on the international community, including the United Nations, African Union, ECOWAS, European Union, whose commitment to democratic values is renowned, to come to our aid in Nasarawa State. We must safeguard our democracy against external influences and ensure that the right of indigenous people to determine their destiny is respected.

“Our last hope lies with the Supreme Court, the final arbiter of justice, to stand firmly by our laws and allow the voice of the majority to prevail over mere technicalities. Let this be a moment for the Supreme Court to reiterate its commitment to the principles of democracy and protect the rights of indigenous people. We implore the Supreme Court to correct this injustice and enforce the true will of the people of Nasarawa State.”

He, therefore appealed to the Supreme Court to declare the true winner of the election after carefully reviewing the case’s facts and figures for the good of the electorate.

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