Politics

Court nullifies Taraba APC governorship primary

The All Progressives Congress (APC) primary poll that produced Senator Emmanuel Bwacha as its candidate for governor in the 2023 general election has been declared invalid by the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) primary poll that produced Senator Emmanuel Bwacha as its candidate for governor in the 2023 general election has been declared invalid by the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The judge, Justice Obiora Egwuatu, ruled that the claimed APC primary election held on May 26 was invalid based on the parties’ statements.

The judge also ordered that a new primary election be held within fourteen days.

Senator Yusuf Yusuf filed a lawsuit on October 6 seeking the annulment of the May 26 APC governorship primary in Taraba. The court had set November 15 as the date for delivering a verdict.

Yusuf, a senator representing Taraba Central and a governorship candidate in the contested election, took Bwacha, the declared winner, the APC, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court to contest Bwacha’s declaration as the victor.

Mr. Ibrahim Bawa (SAN), representing the plaintiff, told the court that the APC did not have a primary election in Taraba State.

According to him, the APC indicated that direct primaries will be held in only three states, and Taraba is not one of them.

“The first defendant confirmed that direct primaries will be conducted in Taraba only after the primaries were conducted,” he said.

He noted that the defendants demanded a review of the report despite the fact that the appeals panel established to examine complaints stated that no primaries were held.

“The purported review was not signed by members of the committee, this court is empowered to compare the signatures on documents before it.”

Bawa further argued that the Federal High Court in Taraba State had recently invalidated the election and ordered a new election in a similar case.

Mr. Festus Idepefo, counsel for the APC, informed the court that he had given evidence to refute the plaintiff’s claim that no primary election was held.

“The issues formulated by the plaintiff is that no election was conducted at all. In response to this allegation, we have exhibited the results of the elections in all the 168 wards in Taraba showing the number of registered voters.

“We have also exhibited the INEC report issued in each local government area of Taraba. In a situation like this, we will expect the plaintiff to exhibit voters who were disenfranchised but no such exhibit is before the court.”

Idebefo responded to the issue of a similar ruling by a court in Taraba by stating that the Taraba case was distinct from the current one.

“The plaintiff in the Taraba case said that the notice given to him for the election was too short so he did not have time to prepare for it. The plaintiff in this case is alleging that there was no election,” he said.

The senior lawyer further stated that the allegation that there was no signature on the committee’s report constituted forgery and falsification, which are severe allegations for which the plaintiff must present evidence.

He stated that legal ambush could not achieve justice and urged the court to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of merit.

Counsel for Bwacha, Mr. E.A. Ibrahim, stated in his argument that he submitted 459 exhibits on behalf of his client.

“The exhibits comprise result sheets for the various wards and local government areas,” he said.

He requested that the court dismiss the lawsuit.

Mr. N.T. Abubakar, counsel for INEC, informed the court that his client would adhere to the court’s judgment.