By NBF News

The legal battle to unseat the Niger State Governor Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu ended yesterday at the Court of Appeal in his favour as the court threw out the case for lacking in merit.

The appellate court specifically refused the request of the All Nigeria People Party (ANPP) and its governorship candidate in the 2007 governorship election, Mr David Umaru to remove Babangida from office on the ground that he was not qualified for the office .

The party and its candidate had approached court seeking for the governor's removal from office on the strength of allegation that he did not resign or retire from the federal public service as demanded by law at the time he stood for the election.

But, for the third time, the Appeal Court held that the petition against the governor was brought outside the mandatory 30 days stipulated by law.

In a unanimous verdict of the court delivered by Justice Mary Peter Odili, the Appeal Court upheld that the petition was so worthless to warrant granting the request of the appellants in the case.

Justice Odili upheld the submission of the governor and other respondents in the suite that the petition was statute barred and could not be adjudicated upon for any purpose other than academic exercise which the court could not afford now.

The court made it clear to the appellant that the Appeal Court was the final bus stop for election petition case and that it would not allow itself to be used as instrument of harassment against any citizen. The Appeal Court had on February 19, 2009 dismissed the appeal of David Umaru on his petition citing the same reason of being statute barred

But in a dramatic turn, Umaru returned to court asking that the Febuary 19 judgment be set aside for being a nullity and that a fresh hearing be undertaken. In a motion to that effect filed by his councel, Chief Mike Ahamba SAN, Umaru claimed that he was denied fair hearing and justice because the petition was determined by the court on technicality instead of merit.

He requested that justices of the Abuja division of the court be disqualified from hearing the appeal case afresh and that new justices be appointed in a new panel. The court in the same vein dismissed the motion for being a gross abuse of court processes and for lacking in merit. The court held that Umaru invited the court dangerously to come and sommersault, knowing fully well that the Court of Appeal could not sit as an Appeal Court in a case it had fully determined.

The court awarded a cost of N200,000 against the governorship candidate and asked him to learn that there must be an end to every litigation.