By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja
The Court of Appeal, Abuja division, yesterday, dismissed an appeal, seeking to unseat Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto state, on the ground that he was not validly elected as candidate of the All Progressive Congress APC, in the 2015 governorship election.
The Appellate court in the judgment, delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim held that the appeal filed by Senator Umaru Dahiru, lacked merit and substance.
Giving the judgment that lasted over two hours, Justice Agim held that the appellant was inconsistent in his case with contradictory evidence in his affidavits and documents placed before the court to challenge the validity of the December 4, 2014, Sokoto governorship primary election.
In the unanimous judgment of the appellate court, the appellant was found to have claimed in his first affidavit that there was no primary election, that delegates were not accredited and that the 1999 Constitution and APC guidelines were violated in the conduct of the primary election.
The appeal court found in the second affidavit of the same appellant that some delegates were accredited and allotted with ballot papers for the primary election, adding that it was completely wrong for the appellant to have made such inconsistent depositions in his affidavits evidence.
The court also held that the claim of the appellant that he be declared winner of the said primary election was strange to law having copiously claimed in his documentary evidence and affidavits placed before the court that there was no primary election.
Justice Agim held that in the face of such inconsistencies, the case of the appellant had become worthless and have no probate value.
The appeal court refused to set-aside the judgment of Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal high court which had earlier dismissed the case of Senator Dahiru on the ground that it was unmeritorious.
“From the totality of affidavit evidence of all the deponents, it is clear that none corroborated each other but rather, they defeated the case of the appellant because of their gross inconsistencies.
“There is no admissible evidence on record to support the case of the appellant and this appellant having failed to support his case with affidavit and documentary evidence is not entitled to the reliefs he sought.
“What is more, the appellant embarked on wrong lines of judicial authorities and arguments for his case. In one breath, he claimed that the respondent did not discharge the burden of allegation he made against them, forgetting that from time immemorial, the burden to prove an allegation lies on the head of the party that made such an allegation.
“In the instant matter, an appellant who asserted that a primary election was not lawful because delegates were not accredited, cannot come in another breath to say that some delegates were accredited and allotted with ballot papers. Appellant cannot probate and approbate at the same time.
“In all, the case of the appellant lacks merit and it is hereby dismissed with a N100,000 to be paid to each of the three respondents as cost.”
Darihu had sued the APC, governor Tambuwal and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), praying that the APC primary election of December 4, 2014, that produced Tambuwal as APC candidate be declared null and void on the ground that due process of law relating to the primary election was not followed.
He specifically alleged that the delegates list from the national secretariat was swapped and that none of the delegates was accredited as required by law.
The case was however, dismissed by Justice Kolawole, prompting his approach of the court of the appeal for intervention.
Appeal Court upholds Tambuwal’s election
By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja