Some residents of Nasarawa State, spanning its 13 local government areas, staged a peaceful protest in the state capital, Lafia, on Saturday. Their grievance was against a recent judgment from the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which declared Governor Abdullahi Sule the winner of the 2023 governorship election in the state.

The earlier decision by the governorship election petitions tribunal on October 2, 2023, had ousted Sule and declared David Ombugadu of the Peoples Democratic Party as the election winner. Discontent with the tribunal’s ruling, Governor Sule filed an appeal to challenge the decision and affirm his victory, as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The protest, led by the Coalition of Indigenous People of Nasarawa State, featured participants dressed in black and carrying leaves, displaying placards with messages such as “The Law Should Protect Us On Merit not Technicalities” and “Nasarawa Mourns For The Soul Of Democracy.”

Video By: Abdulazeez Tijani

After the three-hour protest, Kefas Tigga, the Convener of the Coalition, accused the appeal court of imposing Governor Sule on the people of Nasarawa State. Tigga appealed to the Supreme Court, urging a careful examination of the case’s facts and figures to declare the true winner of the election. He expressed concern that the appeal court’s decision established a dangerous precedent, undermining the fundamental principle of majority rule. Tigga emphasized the need to protect the rights of indigenous people, highlighting the historical challenges faced by Nasarawa State due to external control, economic exploitation, and persecution based on religious or ethnic affiliations.

According to Tigga, David Ombugadu of the PDP rightfully won the governorship election, and the incorrect declaration of Audu Sule as the winner by INEC deviated from the true democratic process. Tigga called upon the international community, including the United Nations, African Union, ECOWAS, European Union, and the United States, to intervene and safeguard Nasarawa State’s democracy against external influences. He placed hope in the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of justice, urging it to uphold the laws, prioritize the voice of the majority, and rectify the perceived injustice, thereby enforcing the true will of the people of Nasarawa State.

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