APPEAL COURT STOPS ABACHA, LADO AS CPC GUBER CANDIDATES
With just five days to the governorship elections, the Court of Appeal Abuja Division on Wednesday deepened the lingering crisis in the Congress for Change [CPC] when it nullified the candidacy of the son of the late military head of state, Sani Abacha, Mohammed as the governorship candidate of the party for Kano State.
The court in a separate judgment also nullified the candidacy of Senator Yajubu Garba Lado and pronounced former Speaker House of Representatives, Honorable Aminu Bello Masari as the party's governorship standard bearer of the Congress in Katsina State.
In the case of Kano State, the appellate court set aside the judgment of a Federal High court and declared Gen. Ja'faru Isa as the party's candidate for the state.
The court in a unanimous decision read by the Justice Jimmy Bada, held that the only recognized primary election was the one conducted by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party which saw Masari as the winner. Justice Bada said, 'the party's NEC and the BOT have the final say on who becomes the candidate of the party and in this instant case, the party submitted the name of the second appellant to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The primary election of January 13, 2011 is the authentic one, this is because there is no evidence that the NEC set up another committee to conduct another primary apart from the earlier conducted one on January 13.
'The primary election of January 13, 2011 is the authentic and it was in accordance with the Electoral Act. I therefore set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court which declared the first respondent as the governorship candidate of the first appellant'. The court also set aside the judgment of the lower court which had earlier declared Mohammed Abacha as the CPC governorship candidate in Kano State, stating that the primary that produced him as the candidate was inconclusive.
The court held that the lower court was wrong in holding that the first respondent won the primary election.
The judge said that, 'the judgment of the lower court is hereby set aside, the plaintiff's claim at the lower court is hereby dismissed'. Reacting to the judgment, Muhammed through his counsel said he would appeal the Judgment, stating that the panel erred when it held that the primary that produced Abacha was inconclusive.
According to him, Abacha was declared winner after securing victory in the primary witnessed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). 'We are already working on the papers and we will file it early enough', Atabor said. A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had on February 25, 2011 held that Senator Yakubu Garba Lado is the validly elected gubernatorial candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in Katsina State following an application brought by him seeking the court order to stop the party from submitting the name of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari or any other candidate other than him to the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] as its governorship candidate for the state for the April 2011 poll.