Supreme Court sacks Nigerian senator

David Umaru
David Umaru

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal by David Umaru to affirm him as the senator-elect of Niger East senatorial district.

The court in a unanimous judgement led by Ibrahim Muhammad held that Mr Umaru, who was elected on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), was not validly nominated by the party.

The court said it was satisfied that the appellant, Mohammed Sani, was the rightful winner of the primary election APC conducted for the senatorial district.

The court set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which on April 8 affirmed Mr Umaru as the winner of the Senatorial seat.

Consequently, the Supreme Court restored the judgement of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which declared Mr Sani as the validly nominated candidate of the APC for the election.

The apex court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to, without delay, issue a certificate of return to Mr Sani as the Senator representing Niger East.

Background

An Abuja division of the Federal High Court presided by Folashade Ogunbanjo, had in a judgement on February 7 said that it was satisfied that Mr Umaru was not genuinely nominated by the APC.

The court declared Mr Sani as the authentic winner of the primary election the party conducted on October 2, 2018.

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Mr Umaru, not satisfied with the judgement, went on an appeal, where he insisted that the lower court erred in law when it wrongly assumed jurisdiction over the matter.

He said Mr Sani’s suit was not filed within 14 days in pursuant to the fourth alteration of the 1999 constitution after APC forwarded his name to INEC.

A Court of Appeal panel led by Stephen Adah later vacated the high court judgement in a unanimous decision.

The appellant court said that the trial court was wrong to have entertained the suit which had become status barred by virtue of section 285(9) of the fourth alteration Act of the 1999 constitution.

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