• Extends olive branch to opposition parties

From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

 

Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule, has reacted to protests that has erupted in Lafia, the State capital, following the Supreme Court’s affirmation of the Court of Appeal judgement that voided the nullification of the election of his election.

 

The governor who met with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential villa alongside two former governors of the state, Abdullahi Adamu and Tanko Al-Makura, said while it is understandable that not many people will accept the verdict of the Supreme Court, protest will not change anything.

 

The Supreme Court, on Friday, affirmed the Court of Appeal judgement that voided the nullification of the election of Sule.

 

The apex court, in a unanimous decision by a five-member panel, upheld the declaration of Sule of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the governorship election that was held in the state on March 18, 2023.

 

Reacting to the protests in Lafia following the Supreme Court’s verdict, Sule, while fielding questions from State House of Correspondents, said it was natural for over 200,000 people who did not vote for him to be unhappy with the outcome.

 

He said: “Nasarawa is a state where we had over 600,000 votes and we won with over 340,000 votes, so you will know that over 200,000 people did not vote for us. So if out of these 200,000 people that did not vote for us and other set of 1,000 people are protesting somewhere, then you will know because it’s a day that not everybody will be happy.

 

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“In every state where the Supreme Court actually passed judgment, in every one of these states you will find some people are happy and some other people not happy. But I think people who understand what democracy is all about will understand that the Supreme Court is the ultimate and is the final and those who appreciate or respect democracy should actually leave it right there because protests or no protest will not change anything, the Supreme Court has already passed his judgment.

 

“So in our own case, when we lost at the tribunal, we told everybody, nobody should protest and that’s why nobody protested, but that is the level of maturity that you will see from one political party or the other. We are a very mature political party, we’re the ruling party in the country, we’re the ruling party in the state and we’re showing a good example, so that’s why we will not protest.“

 

Speaking on the Supreme Court verdict, the governor said: “In line with all the judgments that have been going on in the country, I think first and foremost, we must continue to thank Almighty God for giving us the good health and the opportunity to see the kind of democracy we are seeing.

 

“We must thank Mr. President, and that’s what brought us here to the Villa. We thank him for the kind of role he continues to play in all of these, by ensuring that fairness is done without undue interference, allowing the justice system to work the way it’s supposed to. So we must express our appreciation to him for doing all that to the good people of Nigeria.

 

“As far as we are concerned in Nasarawa State, we have won at the court of appeals, unanimously. We also won today with the five justices being led by a panel of the highly respected Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun (JSC). So we have to thank Almighty Allah that we also had all the five justices in support of us and that’s why we came.

 

“All the issues, as far as elections are concerned, are over today. We call on our opponents, without any grudge whatsoever, to come and join with us so we can build our state. Nasarawa State is next to Abuja. Nasarawa State is, today in the North-Central, is the only state that has commercial quantity discovery of oil.

 

“It is the only state, so far, that is building minerals processing plants. We already have one of the lithium factories almost concluded and as you know, it is also a state that we are very lucky where we have agriculture that is flourishing. In fact, on my right hand, is the biggest local farmer (former All Progressives Congress chairman, Abdullahi Adamu) that we have in the state and he’s rushing to go back for his harvest because he’s started harvesting.”