By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, on Tuesday, stormed the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court over a suit seeking to sack him from office for alleged “electoral fraud”.
The suit was lodged before the court by a chieftain of the of the All Progressive Congress, APC, in the state, Senator Umaru Dahiru.
Dahiru alleged that Tambuwal was illegally nominated by the APC to participate in the 2015 general election.
He told the court that the APC conducted “a fraudulent” primary election in 2014 in its bid to ensure that Tambuwal emerged as it gubernatorial flag-bearer in Sokoto State.
It will be recalled that Tambuwal who was previously a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, defected to APC few months before the April 11, 2015, governorship election took place.
The gubernatorial ticket was handed to him by the party at the expense of the plaintiff, Dahiru who was also an aspirant.
Dissatisfied with the development, Dahiru took the matter to court.
He alleged that the list of accredited delegates was swapped at the election venue and that votes were arbitrarily, unlawfully and fraudulently allocated to the aspirants after series of manipulation, intimidation and threat from the then state government.
Before the election was held, the plaintiff had sought for a declaration that the primary poll of December 4, 2014 that produced Tambuwal was unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void and inconsistent with the Electoral Act, 2010 and the APC guidelines.
Aside insisting that he was the authentic governorship candidate of the party, Dahiru applied for an order restraining INEC from acting, publishing or recognising Tambuwal as APC gubernatorial candidate.
Though the high court, in a judgment by Justice Evoh Chukwu, ruled in favour of the plaintiff, however, the Court of Appeal in Abuja nullified the verdict, saying the respondent’s case was academic.
However, in a twist of events, the Supreme Court, in a judgment on December 9, 2016, held that Dahiru has made out a valid case against Tambuwal.
The apex court directed that the case should be heard afresh on its merit by the high court.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Tuesday, Tambuwal came in person to witness the proceeding, even as 35 lawyers, including two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, announced their appearances for him.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole is currently conducting hearing on the case.
More details soon.