Sokoto guber: Court set to decide Tambuwal’s fate June 23

JUSTICE Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday slated June 23, 2017 to decide the fate of Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State and another All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant in the 2015 general elections, Senator Umaru Dahiru.

The court fixed the date for   judgment in the disputes that arose from the conduct of the primary election of the APC held on December 4, 2014 that produced Tambuwal, after counsel in the matter adopted their briefs and final arguments in the legal tussle over Sokoto state governorship seat.

Senator Dahiru had dragged the APC, Tambuwal and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to the court praying for an order to nullify and set aside the Sokoto state APC primary election that produced Tambuwal on the grounds that it was not in compliance with Electoral Act 2010, the APC guidelines and the party’s Constitution.

Arguing the originating summons on behalf of the plaintiff, Chief Rowland Otaru (SAN) urged the court to void and set aside the primary election that produced Tambuwal for the 2015 governorship election in Sokoto state.

His ground was that the constitution of the APC and party guidelines of the primary election and the Electoral Act were violated in the conduct of the primary election.

Otaru claimed that in breach of the rules guiding the primary election, verification and accreditation of delegates were not done in spite of the fact they were mandatory.

He said the plaintiff has been able to show the court that there was no compliance to the Electoral Act, rules and constitution of the party, and said, ‘that shows that the purported primary election was a nullity”.

Otaru urged the court to take a judicial notice of the list containing the names of the delegates who participated in the primary and the report of the APC, adding that there was no evidence of verification and accreditation in compliance with the relevant laws and urged the court to set aside the purported primary election that produced Tambuwal.

While urging the court to dismiss the suit as filed by the plaintiff, counsel to the APC, Jubril Okutekpa (SAN) drew the attention of the court to the affidavit evidence of the plaintiff prepared in 2014, where he admitted that accreditation of delegates was conducted and further affidavit of the same plaintiff prepared in 2017 where the plaintiff made a U-turn that no accreditation was done.

Okutekpa said the plaintiff should not have commenced the proceedings via originating summons, in view of Order 6 Rule 7 of the Federal High Court

On the issue of accreditation, he submitted that a litigant must be consistent in filing his pleading, supply of evidence and in address and added that the burden is on the plaintiff to call the delegates to come to court to show that they were not accredited.

“This case is bereft of any evidential support to merit any declaration to be made in the favour of the plaintiff. The case taken to the Supreme Court was whether the case of the plaintiff was academic and the apex court said it was not, that is why we are here”, Okutepa told the court and urged the court to dismiss the case of the plaintiff and uphold the nomination of Tambuwal.

In his argument counsel to Tambuwal Sunday Ameh (SAN), aligned himself with the submission of the APC counsel adding that it is too late for the plaintiff who admitted in January 2015 that accreditation was done to make a U-turn in 2017 that there was no accreditation of delegates.

Ameh further submitted that the period for primary election has expired in line with 1999 Constitution and as such the case of the plaintiff had died and become academic.

He said what the plaintiff wants the court to do from the questions formulated for determination is for the court to gather document and sieve through to determine what reliefs he is entitled to.

Alhassan Umar, who represented INEC, told the court that electoral body will remain neutral and abide by the decision of the Court.

“Our case is that, in pursiance of the constitutional mandate of INEC, the third defendant in the matter, we monitored the primary election and the report is the exhibit INEC 1 which we attached with the seven paragraph counter affidavit”, he submitted.

After taking argument from parties in the matter, the trial Judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole fixed June 23, 2017 to deliver judgment in the matter.

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