TARABA ELECTION PETITIONS:
COURT DECLARES WINNERS AND LOSERS
By Jethro Yerga, Jalingo
The Federal High Court sitting in Jalingo, the State Capital, has rolled out judgements on the 2023 pre-election suits filed by aggrieved parties in the various primary elections across political parties in the state.
In the judgements delivered so far by the Presiding judge of the Federal High Court in the State, Justice Simon Amobeda, some parties had grabbed a second round victory giving rise to jubilations in some quarters of the state while those who lost out have returned to their shells, meditating on the next line of action.
The most striking and anxiously awaited judgement by the people of the state was the judgement in the case filed by Professor Jerome Nyame against the People’s Democratic Party’s candidate in the state, Rtd Col. Agbu Kefas.
Professor Jerome Nyameh had dragged the PDP candidate to court, challenging his election over the violation of Part VII, Article 1 of the Electoral Guidelines for the Primary Elections of PDP, 2022, having failed to resign as the state party chairman, among other claims.
According to Professor Nyameh’s submission, the primary election was held on May 25, which was only six days after Agbu resigned, and many days after the screening of aspirants on April 28, when he was still the state party chairman.
Nyameh further submitted that Agbu only resigned via a letter dated May 17, 2022, which was received at the national headquarters on 19 May, 2022.
Also, the Speaker, Taraba State House of Assembly, Professor Joseph Albasu Kunini later applied to join Professor Jerome Nyame in the suit against the PDP candidate in the state. But in a ruling, the court dismissed the two petitions, given Col. Agbu Kefas, the Taraba State PDP candidate for the 2023 gubernatorial election, a clean bill of health to proceed on his journey to the Taraba State Government House.
Another judgement that triggered permutations and counter arguments in the state especially as regard who may likely take over the most exalted and envious seat of the states come s 2023 was the judgement in the case between the Taraba State All Progressives Congress’ Candidate, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha and Chief David Sabo Kente.
Chief David Sabo Kente had in May, 2022 drew the gubernatorial candidate of APC in Taraba State, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha and INEC before the court alleging that the Primary Election that produced him as the governorship candidate of the party in the state was not conducted as specified by the constitution of APC in the state.
Kente sought disqualification of Senator Emmanuel Bwacha as the governorship candidate of the party and prayed court to restrain the APC candidate from contesting the 2023 governorship poll on the party’s platform even as he asked the court to nullify the election and conduct a fresh governorship primary election of the party in the state.
In the ruling, the High Court Presiding Judge, Justice Simon Amobeda, granted the prayers of the plaintiff, Chief David Sabo Kente and dismissed the Taraba State gubernatorial candidate of APC, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha and directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to conduct a fresh governorship primary election in the state within 14 days.
The court further stopped Senator Emmanuel Bwacha from parading himself as the governorship candidate of the APC and directed that INEC should stop recognizing him as a candidate in the 2023 General Elections. In the judgement between Sen Tutare and Bashir Marafa. The Presiding judge, Justice Amobeda Declare Bashir Marafa as the authentic Candidate of the APC for the Taraba Central Senatorial seat.
Senator Tutare had approached the court on a ground that, there was a Primary election that was conducted on the 29th May, 2022. In which election, he alleged he had won and was entitled to be the authentic Candidate of the APC. But in the course of hearings, the APC maintained that it did not authorized the conduct of Primary election on the 29th May, 2022.
The party maintained that the election that was authorized to be conducted was the one of 28th May, 2022 which it said was conducted in compliance with the provisions of the electoral act and monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The party further argued that after a Primary election known to law was conducted on 28th May, 2022, it was not possible for another same election to have been conducted on the 29th May, 2022 in which election, INEC did not monitored as against the position of the plaintiff, Senator Tutare.
Delivering judgement in the suit, Justice Amobeda, declared that the court, haven passionately gone through the various evidences and submissions of the parties in the suit, the plaintiff, Senator Tutare had failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt.
The court therefore, declared the defendant, Bashir Marafa the authentic Candidate of the APC for the Taraba Central Senatorial seat in the 2023 general elections.
Similarly, the court has sacked Mubarak Gambo, the Taraba State APC candidate for Bali -Gassol House of Representatives for the 2023 general elections and ordered for a fresh primary election within 14 days. For the disputation between Nurdeen Ibrahim and Hon. Maigari Bello Kasimu over the APC ticket of Jalingo/Yorro/Zing Federal Constituency, the court affirmed Hon. Maigari Bello Kasimu as the original winner in the Party’s Primary election.
Away from politics, the Federal High Court sitting in Jalingo and presided over by Justice Simon Amobeda has nullified the election of Timothy Magaji as the Taraba State chairman of Nigeria Football Association. In his ruling Tuesday, Justice Amobeda declared that having gone through the various evidences and submissions of the parties in the suit, the plaintiff, Mahmud Sanusi had established the case and based on the preponderance of evidence presented before the court, he was the rightful winner of the June, 12th 2019 Taraba NFA election which was conducted in Bali Local Government Area of the state.
The court further ordered that Timothy Magaji should henceforth, stop parading himself as the chairman of the Nigeria Football Association, Taraba State and directed that NFF should not recognize any other person apart from Mahmud Sanusi who validly worn the election.