Kebbi guber: Court fixes date to decide on merit
A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed a date to rule on whether or not the suit filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Gen. Bello Sarkin-Yaki (rtd), challenging the qualification of Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State to contest in the state’s 2015 Governorship election has merit.
The Defense Counsel, Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN) in his submission, argued that the entire suit constituted an abuse of court of process and that the case was instituted when Bagudu was already sworn-in as Governor of Kebbi State.
Tarfa argued that section 308 of the constitution provides that no civil proceedings can be instituted against a seating Governor. He also said that the Sarkin-Yaki lacked the locus to institute the case because he was not a member of APC as required by the electoral Act 2010.
He said: ‘’The Supreme Court has settled this matter in the case of Shinkafi Vs Gov. Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara and Gov. Darius Ishaku Vs Aisha Alhassan of Taraba.”
Tarfa however, urged the court to dismiss the case for lacking in merit. He said that Sarkin-Yaki sought for the same relief at the election tribunal up to Supreme Court and the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.
Counsel to APC, Yakubu Maikyau, also asked the court to dismissed the case for being an abuse of court process saying that the relief sought by the third plaintiff (Sarkin-Yaki) asking the court to declare the person with the second highest number of votes as the winner of the election was contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Maikyau argued that the court couldn’t declare Sarkin-Yaki, winner of the election, and that the constitution did not grant such powers to a court except election tribunal.
He said: “My lord, the plaintiff got into an issue that the court has no jurisdiction and the plaintiff sought for a relief which a court lacked jurisdiction to grant, the only thing is to dismiss the relief sought. The plaintiff exhausted his case from the tribunal up to Supreme Court and now they are here.”
Maikyau, however, urged the court to hold that the Sarkin-Yaki’s case was an abuse of court process and the court also lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case.
Cousel to Sarkin-Yaki, Anthony Ani (SAN), in response, argued that the cases cited by the defence were inapplicable to the facts of the plaintiff case.
Sarkin-Yaki, had through his lawyer, Ani, filed the suit, praying the court to set aside or nullify all the privileges addressed to the Governor by reason of not being qualified to contest the election.
The plaintiff also asked the court to declare that by reason of alleged false information given by the defendant in INEC form C.F.001, particularly in Part E, item number 2, that the defendant by virtue of section 31 sub (6) of the Electoral Act 2010 is disqualified from contesting the election.
Joined, as second and third defendants in the suit are All Progressive Congress (APC) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Justice Adeniyi Ademola, fixed March 2, 2016 for ruling after both counsels had made their oral arguments before the court.