David Arin, Jos
The Federal High Court sitting in Jalingo has nullified the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary election that produced Senator Emmanuel Bwacha as the flag bearer in Taraba State for the 2023 general election.
The presiding judge, Justice Simon Amobeda, ordered that a fresh primary poll be conducted within 14 days of the judgment.
Within seven days, it said the party should determine the mode for the fresh primary.
David Sabo Kente, one of the aspirants in the Taraba APC guber primary, on May 26 sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Emmanuel Bwacha and APC as the first, second and third defendants respectively, challenging the legitimacy of the conduct of the primary.
The presiding judge, in determining the substantive suit, noted that the Chairman of the Taraba APC Governorship Election Committee had said there was no election and he did not order any election when he addressed a briefing at the Police Headquarters in Jalingo.
The judge also noted that there was no evidence before the court that the direct primary adopted by the third defendant (APC) held.
Justice Amobeda also held that the aspirants were not given equal opportunity to campaign.
He resolved that the weight of evidence before the court showed that no election was held and that the nomination of Senator Bwacha “was null and therefore set aside”.
“No APC governorship primary election was held in Taraba. Therefore, the nomination of the second defendant (Bwacha) as the governorship candidate did not comply with the electoral act of 2022,” the judge held.
The judge described the Taraba guber primary election held on May 26, 2022,
as “sham,” adding that “the third defendant (APC) is restrained from presenting its candidate (Bwacha) to the first defendant (INEC) for the 2023 general election.
Justice Amobeda ordered that “the third defendant shall within 14 days conduct a fresh election and shall determine the mode of primaries within seven days of the judgement.”