Opposition Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) was dealt a huge blow yesterday.
The party lost two senatorial and eight House of Representatives seats at the election petition tribunal.
All the seats were lost in Katsina, the home state of the party’s presidential candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari in the last general election.
The National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal sitting in Katsina nullified the election of Senator Ahmed Sani-Store (Katsina Central) and Senator Abdu Yan’doma (Katsina North Central).
The affected House of Representatives members include: Tasi’u Duguru, (Mashi/Dutsi Constituency), Muhammad Tukur (Katsina Central), Umar Adamu (Daura/Mai’adua/Sandamu Constituency), Aminu Ashiru (Mani/Bindawa Constituency) and Musa Salisu (Kankia /Kusada/Ingawa Federal Constituency).
Others are Muntari Dandutse (Funtua/Dandume Federal Constituency), Murtala Isa (Faskari/Sabuwa/Kankara Federal Constituency) and Abdu Dankama (Jibia/Kaita Federal Constituency).
Delivering the judgment, tribunal judges Justices Solomon Akintaye and Halim Saleeman ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct fresh elections in the affected senatorial districts and federal constituencies.
The judges according to the News Agency of Nigeria said all the affected CPC contestants were not qualified to contest the April elections based on the judgment of the Court of Appeal which set aside the January 15, 2011 CPC primary elections that recognised them as the party’s standard bearers.
The tribunal said it relied on sections 141 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended and 135 of the 1999 Constitution which provided that candidates should only contest election under a political party’s sponsorship.
They, however, said that the tribunal was not unaware of the pending case at the Supreme Court involving the affected legislators, but that the judgment of the Supreme Court could only take effect from the date it was passed, “hence it will not affect our verdict”.