Court annuls PPD lawsuit against Gombe Governor

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The Abuja Federal High Court on Tuesday quashed a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party of the Peoples (PDP) against Gombe State Governor Inuwa Yahaya over his re-election bid.

In the lawsuit, the PPD had prayed to the judge, Binta Nyako, to invalidate Yahaya’s candidacy as the gubernatorial bearer of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for the March 11 elections.

In issuing a ruling on the case, Ms. Nyako quashed PDP’s forgery charge against Mr. Yahaya on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the claim.

But the judge said the plaintiffs could raise the issue in another judicial forum.

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The PDP and two of its supporters, Muhammed Barde and Timothy Danlele, filed the lawsuit accusing Yahaya of submitting falsified documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in preparation for the gubernatorial election.

The plaintiffs named INEC, APC and Mr. Yahaya as defendants in the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Johnson Usman, a Senior Counsel for Nigeria (SAN), informed the court that Mr. Yahaya lied under oath in his documents submitted to the electoral referee.

Mr. Usman said that the governor, while running for the 2019 election, had on Form CF001 that he submitted to INEC, stated that he worked with AYU & Co Ltd from 1980 to 1990, but on Form EC-9 that he submitted to INEC, Mr. Yahaya to seek re-election, said he worked at the same firm from 1985 to 2003.

The lawyer maintained that the governor was “inconsistent” in the statements he made under oath.

He said that Mr. Yahaya should be disqualified from running in the upcoming Gombe State gubernatorial elections.

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Referring to the constitution and the Election Law, Mr. Usman said: “That the third defendant (Mr. Yahaya) who submitted falsified documents to the first defendant on his INEC EC-9 form in 2022 is not qualified to contest the election. Gombe State Governor.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer had urged the court to compel INEC to remove Mr. Yahaya’s name from the list of genuine candidates for the gubernatorial election.

APC Defense

But the APC and Mr. Yahaya said the lawsuit was incompetent.

The defendants through their lawyer, Marshall Abubakar, urged the court to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.

It held that the plaintiffs did not have the right to sue against the nomination of a candidate from another political party.

Mr. Abubakar informed the court that the PDP was unable to prove any cause of action against Mr. Yahaya and the APC.

The defendants’ lawyer argued that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit was time-barred, as it was filed outside the legal deadline 14 days after INEC published the name of Mr. Yahaya as APC’s standard-bearer for the survey.

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