The Federal High Court in Abuja will on March 10 give ruling on whether to allow or refuse an application seeking to amend an originating summon pleading for the removal of the Sokoto State governor, Malam Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, from office on the account that the primary election of the All Progressive Congress (APC) that produced him for the 2015 governorship election was not validly conducted.
The application filed by Senator Umaru Dahiru, an APC governorship aspirant, and argued by his counsel, Mr. Ikoro I. Ikoro, sought to amend the originating summon filed against the APC, Tambuwal and the Independent National Electoral Commission as 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively before the April 11, 2015 governorship election.
In the amendment being sought, Senator Dahiru is now asking the Federal High Court to remove Governor Tambuwal from office and declare him as the winner of the December 2014 APC primary election. The applicant also asked the court for an order compelling INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Governor Tambuwal and present it to him on the grounds that he was the lawfully elected candidate of the APC at the primary election.
The Senator also sought an order nullifying the nomination of Tambuwal by APC for the 2015 governorship election and replaced him as the properly nominated APC candidate to INEC for the 2015 governorship election. However, in his vehement objection to the application, the APC asked the court to dismiss the request for the amendment on the ground that it is not in compliance with the Supreme Court Judgment of December 9, last year which ordered a retrial of the plaintiff’s case.
The APC represented by Mr. Jubrin Okutepa SAN argued yesterday that the applicant, Senator Dahiru had changed the character and direction of his earlier originating summon. The party told the court that the applicant sought to amend the originating summon because of his sudden discovery that event 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 last year.
Okutepa further argued that the applicant was not consistent in the reliefs been sought in the proposed amendment, adding 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 and that the same applicant cannot seek to be declared winner of the said unlawfully conducted primary election.
The counsel therefore urged the court to refuse the proposed amendment and allow hearing in the initial originating summon as directed by the Supreme Court. Counsel to Tambuwal Mr. Sunday Ibrahim Ameh SAN aligned himself with the submission of the APC and urged the court to hold that the amendment being sought by the governorship aspirant is unmeritorious.
The counsel insisted that it is too late in the day for the applicant to seek the relief after the governorship election had been conducted adding that the proper place for the applicant to ventilate his anger is the election petition tribunal. Ameh also submitted that the applicant cannot even go to any Election Petition Tribunal because the 21 days required by law under which a petition can be filed to challenge the election of any declared winner had lapsed since 2015.
The senior counsel therefore urged the court to refuse the temptation of turning itself to an election petition tribunal as there is no law for such an action. Justice Gabriel Kolawole, after taken arguments from both parties fixed March 10 to give ruling on whether to allow or refuse the proposed amendment sought by the former governorship aspirant.