Two former aspirants for the position of the Governor of Sokoto State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, Umaru Dahiru (a former senator), and Mr. Abubakar Sanyinna, have appealed against the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja dismissing their suit against Governor Aminu Tambuwal.
They filed six grounds of notice of appeal to challenge the judgment of the Federal High Court’s delivered by Justice Gabriel Kolawole on June 23, 2017.
The appellants, through their counsel, Mr. Tunde Falola, filed their notice of appeal against the Federal High Court’s judgment on July 6.
They asked the appeal court to “set aside the decision of the learned trial judge and grant the appellants’ prayers in the originating summons.”
The appellants’ originating summons filed before the Federal High Court had sought Tambuwal’s removal from office.
The prayer was anchored on the basis that the APC governorship primary conducted in Sokoto State on December 14, 2017, and from which Tambuwal emerged as the party’s candidate, was marred by irregularities, mainly alleged non-accreditation of delegates who voted during the exercise.
In his judgment, Justice Kolawole held that the plaintiffs were unable to prove the alleged irregularities.
But faulting Justice Kolawole’s judgment in their notice of appeal, the appellants contended, among others, that the judge failed to properly evaluate the evidence put before the court “as to the accreditation.”
This, they contended, “has occasioned a miscarriage of justice.”
In the first ground, the appellants contended that “the appellants have not been able to prove the allegation of non-accreditation of delegates during the purported All Progressives Congress primaries.”
Giving the particulars of the alleged error, they stated, “The appellants, by affidavit and documentary evidence presented before the court particularly paragraphs 11, 12, 13, 14, 15,16, and 17 of the further affidavit of Senator Umaru Dahiru sworn to on April 13, 2017 and Exhibits O and P attached thereto, have substantially demonstrated that no delegate was accredited before the conduct of the said primaries.”
In other grounds of appeal, the appellant also faulted the reliance of the trial judge on the report by the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission on the said primary.
It partly read, “The learned trial judge erred in law when he heavily relied on Exhibit M which is the purported report by the third respondent (INEC) in coming to a conclusion that there was accreditation of the second respondent (Tambuwal) during the conduct of the purported governorship primaries of the first respondent (APC) held in Sokoto State on December 14, 2014.”
They added that from Dahiru’s affidavit sworn to on April 13, 2017 “there is nowhere the number of accredited delegates was specifically mentioned to have justified the learned trial judge’s findings.”
They also stated, “The mere mention of ‘the party submitted a typed agenda for the primary that started with accreditation of delegates’ without more is not enough for inference of accreditation by the learned trial judge.”
They also faulted the judgment further for holding that the INEC’s report “is sufficient to uphold the said APC’s governorship primaries.”
They maintained that there was nothing in the said report “suggestive of any accreditation of delegates at the said primaries held on December 14, 2014 in Sokoto State.”
They also faulted the judge for holding that “the appellants’ prayers are not grantable when, in fact, section 87(9) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) makes provision for an aggrieved aspirant to challenge the conduct of nomination of a candidate for an election.”