The Supreme Court today nullified the election of two Senators and eight members of the House of Representatives representing Katsina State on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
In a unanimous judgment, a seven-man panel of justices of the apex court held that going by the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 and the 1999 constitution, as amended, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, ought not to have recognized the ousted lawmakers as authentic candidates of the CPC for the April 2011general election.
The court held that the affected lawmakers, were not validly nominated.
Consequently, the panel presided by Justice Tanko Mohammed Mahmoud, upheld the verdict of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal which had on April 20, declared the primary election that produced the sacked lawmakers as illegal, null and void.
Those affected by the judgment were Senators Abdu Umar ‘Yandoma and Ahmad Sani Stores, representing Katsina North and Katsina Central senatorial districts respectively, Representatives Murtala Isa, Muntari Dandutse, Musa Salisu, Aminu Ashiru and Umar Adamu Katsayal, Muhammad Tukur, Tasi’u Doguro, and Abdu Dankama representing Jibia-Kaita Federal constituency.
Meanwhile, the apex court has ordered the National Assembly leadership to immediately, swear-in ten members of the CPC in Katsina state who it said were the bonafide candidates of the party and winners of the primary election that heralded the April poll in the state.
Those it said should be sworn-in to take over the seats of the ousted legislators are, Messrs Sadiq Yar’Adua, (Katsina central Senatorial District), Hadi A Sirika, (Katsina North), Ahmed B Kaita, (Kankia/Kusada/ Ingawa Federeal constituency), Salisu Salisco, (Kaita/ Jibiya constituency), Shiek Umar Abubakar, (Katsina federal constituency), Salisu Ado Daura, (Daura/ Maiaduwa/ Sandamu constituency), Isa Lawa Doro, (Mani/ Bindawa constituency), Sani Bello Mashi, (Mashi/ Dutsi constituency), Abbas Machika, (Kankara/ Faskari/ Sabuwa constituency) and Dr Mansur Funtua, (Funtua/ Dandume constituency).
The court voided the election of the said lawmakers on the ground that section 85(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 was violated.
Specifically, section 85(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 requires every registered political party in the country to give a 21-day notice to INEC, notifying it of its intention to conduct congresses for the purpose of nominating candidates for any elective office specified under the Act.
In compliance with the provision, CPC, through its national headquarters, wrote a letter to INEC on December 24, 2010, giving INEC notice of its intention to hold primary elections for the April 2011 National Assembly, State Assembly and governorship elections in Katsina state.
The CPC had also notified INEC of the constitution of a committee under one Col. Jibril Mohammed Hassan (Rtd), saddled with the responsibility of organizing the primary elections.
The said election, which took place as slated, saw a former speaker of the House of Representative, Aminu Masari, and others vying for various national and state assembly offices and emerging victorious. Their names were subsequently ratified by the National Executive Committee and Board of Trustees of the party and forwarded to INEC through the CPC national congress committee led by one Lanre Tejuosho.
Nevertheless, dissatisfied with the nomination process, 43 candidates of the party in the state, led by one Senator Lado Danmarke, dragged INEC, the party and its chairman, Tony Momoh before a federal high court in Abuja, contending that they were the legally elected candidates of the party in the state.
On February 15, trial justice Abdul Kafarati granted the relief sought by the plaintiffs and okayed them for the April polls.
Following his judgment, the CPC leadership went before the appellate court and upturned Mr Kafarati’s judgment. They lost, as the Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court’s decision today.