The Federal High Court sitting in Makurdi on Wednesday dismissed the suit filed by the defeated PDP governorship aspirant, Terver Khaki, against Gov. Gabriel Suswam.
Mr. Khaki had challenged Mr. Suswam’s competence to have contested the January, 2011 PDP gubernatorial primaries.
The plaintiff alleged that the governor forged his secondary school certificate.
Mr. Khaki also wanted the court to set aside the primaries on the grounds that it was marred by fraud, describing the exercise as “charade and stage-managed’’.
Arguing the case, Counsel to Mr. Suswam and the PDP, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), said the plaintiff failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt.Mr. Okutepa, who urged the court to give judgment in his client’s favour, submitted that the plaintiff did not tender any certificate to establish which of them was fake or genuine. He said that the witnesses called by the plaintiff made contradictory statements, which did not amount to any proof to warrant the court to grant any of the reliefs sought. According to him, the court has no jurisdiction to adjudicate over pre-election matters.
Samuel Kargbo, Counsel to the plaintiff, said that his client had proved the case as required by law.
According to Mr. Kargbo, Mr. Kahki had demonstrated that the primaries were stage-managed, saying that that his client was not given a level-playing ground at the primaries.
Kargbo urged the court to declare that the election was null and void, saying that there were 278 wards where election did not hold.
He further prayed the court to disqualify the governor and declare his client the winner of the primaries.
Delivering judgement, Justice Marcel Awokunlehin agreed with the counsel to the defendant that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain pre-election matters, pointing out that it was a party affair.
On the certificate forgery, Mr. Awokunlehin stated that the evidence of the plaintiff was mere hearsay, which he observed, lacked quotative value and could not sway the court to agree with him.
The judge likened the plaintiff’s case to a boxer who was given a technical knockout on round zero, describing Khaki’s claims as frivolous, unmeritorious, misconceived and malicious.