A Federal High Court sitting in Jalingo, Taraba state capital Wednesday stopped the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Sani Abubakar Danladi from contesting Saturday’s governorship election.
The presiding judge, Justice Stephen Pam, in a ruling on age falsification brought against Danladi by Usman Udi and three others, said the APC candidate filled different dates of birth for the WAEC certificate submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The ruling is coming on the heels of a similar order by a Federal High Court in Kano Monday which nullified the primary election that led to the emergence of Abba Yusuf as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The judge, Lewis Alagoa, ruled that the PDP did not conduct a governorship primary in the state and thus ordered that a fresh primary be conducted to produce the governorship candidate for Saturday poll.
Delivering judgement on the Taraba quagmire, Justice Pam said: “The information given by the first defendant, Abubakar Sani Danladi as to his age in the affidavit in support of his personal particulars in the INEC Form CF001 submitted to INEC is hereby declared false.
“Danladi is hereby disqualified from contesting election as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the governorship election for Taraba state slated for 9th March 2019 or any subsequent date to be slated on the ground that the information contained in the Form CF001 as submitted to INEC as to his age is false”.
Reacting to the court ruling, the state APC urged its teaming supporters not to be discouraged “by the mischievous and comical judgement by the Federal High Court in disqualifying the party’s gubernatorial candidate, Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi from contesting in the Saturday election.”
The APC Chairman, Barrister Ibrahim El-sudi, who made the plea at a press conference in Jalingo, said the judgement “based on a case filed by some unknown persons parading as concerned citizens who raised the issue of a purported improper declaration of age by Sani Danladi” was mischievous.
El-sudi further said there were legal procedures involved in the substitution of candidates by INEC, stating that a court judgement does not automatically translate to disqualification to contest an election.
El-sudi said the judgement was another desperate attempt by agents of the PDP and the state government to escape defeat come Saturday, stating that he was optimistic his party would win the contest.
The concerned citizens had claimed there were discrepancies in the age declaration contained in Sani Danladi’s SSCE and his statutory declaration of age in 2000.
Even as the Kano and Taraba impasse is generating heat in the political circle, it is not yet clear who would be the governorship candidate of the APC in Enugu state as no candidate of the party has been listed on INEC website two days to the election, a case which is creating uncertainty for the party faithful and the electorate ahead of the state the forthcoming polls.
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, had on 5th of February, 2019 sacked Senator Ayogu Eze as the governorship candidate of the party in Enugu state.
The court in the judgment delivered by Hon. Justice I. Ekwo of the Federal High Court 5, asked INEC to recognise George Ogara as the candidate of the party in place of Senator Eze.
However, less than two days to the election, the APC National Working Committee (NWC), led by Adams Oshiomhole was yet to obey the order of the court by submitting the name of Mr. Ogara to the INEC as directed.
A source from INEC disclosed that APC was yet to fill the form 001 and 002 that bears the Barrister George Tabugbo Ogara and Ginika Tor in accordance to the court order.
“So, upon this fragrant disobedience to the lawful court order that INEC decided to expunge the name of Senator Ayogu Eze as the candidate of APC and leave its space in the list blank,” the source said.
It was gathered that the name of Senator Eze is in the original list sent from Abuja, before the court ruling on February 5, which directed INEC to recognise Mr. Ogara as the authentic governorship candidate of APC in the state.
However, director of media for Senator Ayogu Eze campaign organisation, Okey Ezirigwe, said his principal is the authentic candidate for the polls.
“Disregard whatever you are reading in the media about Eze not being the candidate. We are going to receive him at the airport today,” he said.