Corruption: Court Dismisses Suit Seeking Tambuwal’s Removal As Governor

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday dismissed a suit seeking the removal of Mr. Aminu Tambuwal as governor of Sokoto State.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole held in his judgment that the suit was lacking in merit.

The suit was seeking Tambuwal’s removal on the basis that the All Progressives Congress’ governorship primary election conducted in Sokoto State on December 4, 2014, which produced the incumbent, was marred by irregularities.

The plaintiffs in the suit were two former governorship aspirants under the platform of the APC, Umaru Dahiru and Abubakar Sanyinna.

They joined the APC, Tambuwal and the Independent National Electoral Commission as the defendants.

In his judgment on Friday, Justice Kolawole held that the plaintiffs were unable to prove the alleged irregularities.

The judge noted that even if they were able to prove their case, it would not be enough for the jury to nullify the outcome of the primary because the Federal High Court, not being an election petitions tribunal, lacked the jurisdiction to order a fresh governorship poll.

The judge also held that it would have been a different case had the plaintiffs claimed to be the winners of the primary.

Justice Kolawole noted that the provisions in Section 31(1) of the Electoral Act and Section 178(1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution had prescribed that a party’s governorship primary must be held not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the last holder of the office.

He held that granting the plaintiffs’ prayer would violate the constitutionally and statutorily prescribed timeline.

The judge ruled, “I am not in any doubt that this court does not have the jurisdiction to order a fresh governorship election to be held, for instance, in Sokoto State that will mandatorily and must compulsorily involve all the political parties that participated in the April 2015 governorship election.

“The question is of what use will it be if this court, as a court of equity, to grant the plaintiffs’ reliefs, nullify the primary election and order a fresh primary election to be conducted, when it knows it lacks the jurisdiction to make any consequential order, even on the authority of the Supreme Court’s decision attached to the plaintiffs’ further affidavit, to direct the third defendant (INEC) to conduct a fresh governorship election so that whoever wins the fresh primary election among the first defendant’s five contestants can square it up in a general election with the candidates of other political parties.”

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