*Says he was not validly nominated
BY IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI
ABUJA-With barely five days to the April 26 governorship elections across the country, the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal, yesterday, barred the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from recognizing son of the late Head of State, Mohammed Abacha, as the gubernatorial candidate of the Congress for Political Change, CPC, in Kano State.
A three-man panel of Justices at the appellate court voided his candidacy on the premise that he was not validly nominated by the party to fly its gubernatorial flag in the state.
Setting aside an earlier judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja which on March 4, affirmed Abacha as the authentic gubernatorial candidate of the CPC in Kano State, the appellate court insisted that the lower court erred in law by relying on the outcome of an inconclusive primary election to deliver its verdict in favour of the plaintiff.
It would be recalled that Abacha had gone before the High Court, alleging subterranean moves by the CPC to substitute his name with that of Gen Ja’faru Lawal Isah, who he said came second in a primary election that held in the state on January 12.
Sequel to his suit, trial Justice Gabriel Kolawole on March 4, held that the plaintiff, having scored the highest number of votes in the said primary contest, ought to have his name forwarded to INEC in-line with the statutory provisions of Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010.
Consequently, the court ordered INEC to go ahead and recognize the plaintiff, Abacha, as the bona-fide governorship candidate of the CPC in Kano, noting that whereas he garnered a total of 144,066 votes after the primary polls, that his challenger, Isa, got only 78, 671 votes, beside five other aspirants.
Dissatisfied with that verdict, both the party and its choice candidate, Isa, took the matter to the Court of Appeal where they secured victory yesterday.
Delivering judgment on the matter, the three-man panel, comprising Justices Muhammed Garba Lawal, Jimi Bada and Regina Obiageli, held that the respondent, Abacha, failed to controvert documentary evidences adduced by the appellants proving that the said primary election was inconclusive.
The court maintained that he neither refuted depositions of the appellant that the primary poll was marred by gross violence that prevented electoral officers from reaching nine local government areas of the state, nor allegation that the results of 14 local government areas were forged.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Abacha yesterday vowed to take the case to the Supreme Court, insisting that the judgment was legally erroneous.