Justice Gabriel Kolawole, of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, will, on March 10, decide on an application seeking to amend the suit challenging the election of Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
The plaintiff, Senator Umaru Dahiru, an All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant for the 2015 election, in the originating summons, is seeking Tambuwal’s removal from office on the grounds that the primary election of the APC, which produced him for the 2015 governorship election, was not validly conducted.
Dahiru, who filed the application through his counsel, Mr. Ikoro I. Ikoro, sought to amend the originating summon filed against the APC, Tambuwal and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as first, second and third defendant, respectively, before the April 11, 2015 governorship election.
In the proposed amendment, Dahiru is asking the Federal High Court to sack Tambuwal and declare him winner of the December 2014 APC primary election.
He also asked the court for an order compelling INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Tambuwal and present it to him on the grounds that he was the lawfully elected candidate of the APC at the primary election.
However, in a vehement objection to the application, the APC asked the court to dismiss the request for the amendment on the grounds that it was not in compliance with the Supreme Court judgment of December 9, 2016, which ordered a retrial of the plaintiff’s case.
The APC, represented by Mr. Jubrin Okutepa (SAN), argued yesterday that the applicant, Dahiru changed the character and direction of his earlier originating summon.
The party also told the court that the applicant sought to amend the originating summon because of his sudden discovery that events had overtaken the initial originating summon and that any attempt to allow the amendment will amount to an affront to the Supreme Court Judgment of December 2016.
Okutepa further argued that the applicant was not consistent in the reliefs been sought, and added that, in the originating summon, the applicant had asked the court to nullify the APC primary election on the grounds that it was unlawfully conducted. He further argued that the same applicant could not seek to be declared winner of the said unlawfully conducted primary election.
Okutepa urged the court to refuse the proposed amendment and allow hearing in the initial originating summon as directed by the Supreme Court.
Tambuwal’s counsel, Mr. Sunday Ameh (SAN), aligned with APC’s submission and urged the court to hold that the amendment being sought by the governorship aspirant is unmeritorious.
Ameh also submitted that the applicant could not even go to any Election Petition Tribunal because, the 21 days required by law, under which a petition could be filed, to challenge the election of any declared winner, had lapsed since 2015.
He urged the court to refuse the temptation of turning itself to a tribunal, and added there is no law for such an action.
Justice Kolawole, after taking arguments from both parties, fixed March 10, 2017 to give ruling on whether to allow or refuse the proposed amendment sought by the former governorship aspirant.