By Martins Odeh
Abuja – The Supreme Court will deliver judgment in the appeal challenging the propriety of nomination of Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of APC in the 2015 governorship election. On Dec 9.
Justice Bode-Rhodes Vivour presided over the panel of six other justices that fixed the date in Abuja on Tuesday.
Alhaji Umaru Dahiru and Mr Aliyu Sanyinna who contested the primaries with Tambuwal had filed the joint appeal.
While adopting his written address, Awa Kalu (SAN), Counsel to Dahiru, urged the apex court to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeal.
The lower court had held that the suit had become academic exercise by virtue of the election of Tambuwal in the April 11, 2015 governorship poll.
According to Kalu, the party’s primary is not conducted in line with the party guideline.
Kalu said the lower court erred in law by holding that their joint suit had no life to sustain it.
He argued that the April 11, 2015 general election could not have rendered the life of the appeal useless, adding that it evolved from a pre-election matter.
“This appeal also cannot be a mere academic exercise because the suit was filed on Jan. 27, 2015 long before the general election was conducted.
“Several frivolous motions and applications filed by the respondents at the Federal High Court in Abuja delayed judgment delivery until the election was conducted.
“My Lords, since all the delay tactics were at the instance of the respondents, the respondents should not be allowed to be beneficiaries of the unjust delays which made expeditious hearing practically impossible,’’ he said.
He, therefore, asked the apex court to invoke Section 22 of the Supreme Court Act to resolve the issue to finality.
“That provision empowers the apex court to even act as a court of first instance in the circumstances of the case, Kalu said.
Mr Sunday Ameh (SAN), Counsel to Tambuwal, said the reliefs sought by the appellants at the Federal High Court had been overtaken by the conduct of the general election.
“My Lords the issue has been made status bar with the return and declaration of Tambuwal as winner of that election,’’ Ameh said.
Ameh urged the court to dismiss the appeal on the ground that it had become academic.
Chief Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), Counsel to APC, aligned himself with the submissions canvassed by Ameh, adding that the appeal lacked substance.
The appellants had at the Federal High Court sued Tambuwal and asked the court to declare that the primaries of Dec. 4, 2014 which produced him was unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.
They had prayed the trial court to hold that the exercise was inconsistent with the Electoral Act, 2010 and the APC guidelines.
They claimed that the list of accredited delegates was swapped at the election venue and that votes were arbitrarily allocated.
They also averred that the exercise was marred by manipulation, intimidation and threat from the then state government that had backed Tambuwal.
They had also asked the trial court to give an order restraining INEC from acting, publishing or recognising Tambuwal as APC gubernatorial candidate.
They also prayed for an order nullifying or withdrawing the nomination of Tambuwal and for a fresh primary election to be conducted.
Late Justice Evoh Chukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, gave judgment in their favour only to be upturned at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.