An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Wednesday struck a suit by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last senatorial election, Garba Dahiru.
Mr Dahiru asked the court to declare him the winner of the election in Bauchi South Senatorial District and issue him the certificate of return because the All Progressives Congress (APC) which polled the most votes in the election did not have a candidate.
The APC in the February 23 election garnered 250,725 votes, while Mr Dahiru scored 175,527 votes.
But the Returning Officer, Ahmed Sarkin-Fagam, said he could not declare a winner for the election. He said the APC had no candidate recognised by the law as it had failed to substitute its candidate, Lawal Gumau, as directed earlier by a federal high court.
According to a report by PUNCH newspaper, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Ibrahim Abdullahi, said the APC had failed to substitute its candidate for the poll as ordered by the court.
According to the report, Mr Abdullahi said the candidature of Mr Gumau was nullified by a court prior to the election, with an order that the party should substitute him.
He said that up till the time of the election, the party had failed to obey the court order. As such, Mr Abdullahi said Mr Gumau could not be returned as winner of the election.
It will be recalled that a Federal High Court in Abuja had earlier ordered Mr Gumau substituted with Ibrahim Zailani, who had challenged the outcome of the APC primaries in the state.
But on Wednesday, the judge at the federal high court in Abuja, Taiwo Taiwo, in his judgement held that it is a post-election matter and that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain it.
Mr Taiwo added that the appropriate court for the matter is the election petition tribunal.
Mr Taiwo said the court could not decide on the candidacy of the APC since it is already a subject before the appellate court.
He added that doing so would merely amount to an academic exercise.
Addressing journalists shortly after the judgment, the INEC lawyer, Alhassan Umar, thanked the court for a well-considered judgement, while Prisca Elesike, who is counsel to Mr Dahiru, said: “an appeal is a better option.”