Indigenes of Nasarawa State from across its 13 local government areas, on Saturday held a peaceful protest in Lafia, the state capital, against the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, which pronounced Governor Abdullahi Sule winner of the 2023 governorship election in the state.
The governorship election petitions tribunal had on October 2, 2023, sacked Sule of the All Progressives Congress and declared David Ombugadu of the Peoples Democratic Party winner of the election.
Unsatisfied by the tribunal judgment, the governor filed an appeal to set aside the judgment and affirm his election as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
During the protest on Saturday which commenced at the Welcome to Lafia City Gate and ended at the Stadium Junction, the women and youths dressed in black while wielding leaves.
They also wielded placards with several inscriptions such as “The Law Should Protect Us On Merit not Technicalities;” “Nasarawa Mourns For The Soul Of Democracy;” and “President Tinubu, Please Save Our Democracy, among others.
Speaking after the protest which lasted about three hours, the Convener, Coalition of Indigenous People of Nasarawa State,
Kefas Tigga accused the appeal court of imposing Sule on the people of the state.
He, therefore, appealed to the Supreme Court to do the needful by carefully looking at the facts and figures in the case and announcing the actual winner of the election.
Tigga said, “The new normal established by the appeal court has 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 far too long, 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 David Ombugadu of the PDP rightfully won the governorship election held on March 18, 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 upon the international community, including the United Nations, African Union, ECOWAS, European Union, and the United States, 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.”