• Orders duo to refund two years salaries and allowances within 90 Days
• Tambuwal’s election affirmed
The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the Senator representing Taraba North, Alhaji Sani Danladi and a member of the House of Representatives, Herman Hembe to vacate their seats at the National Assembly with immediate effect.
The apex court ordered them to refund all salaries and allowances they so far received since they were inaugurated into the 8th National Assembly within 90 days.
The court also ordered that Shuaibu Isa Lau, be sworn in as the Senator representing Taraba North and Mrs Dorathy Mato as the member House of Representatives from Vandeikya/Konshisha Federal Constituency.
In the lead judgement was delivered by Justice Aminu Adàmu Augie on the appeal filed by Shuaibu Isa Lau challenging the decision of the court of appeal that had upturned his victory at the primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2014 that he was wrongfully substituted.
Justice Augie stated that Lau who contested the party primary and won was wrongfully substituted.
Other four members of the panel headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Walter Onneghen unanimously agreed thus: “The appellant has the right to participate just like any other candidate in the primary and if he feels his right was infringed upon, he has the right to approach the court.
“From the totality of the appeal before this court, all the issues are resolved in favour of the appellant. His substitution at the primary election is null and void since the appellant scored the highest number of votes, the only option is to declare the appellant as the winner of primary.
“This court hereby orders that the appellant be issued with the certificate of return and the respondent should immediately vacate the seat. He should return to the National Assembly all salaries and allowances received as a Senator within 90 days.”
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division’s judgment which was yesterday set aside, had dismissed the appeal filed by Lau on the account that nomination, sponsorship and substitution of candidate for election was a domestic affairs of a political party and it is outside the jurisdiction of any court as a court cannot impose candidate on a party.
The five man panel of the Supreme Court held that the appellant who contested the primary in 2014 has the legal right to challenge the decision of the PDP particularly as Danladi did not participate in the primary.
Similarly, in the second judgement prepared by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen and read by Justice Augie, the Supreme Court upheld the appeal filed by Mrs Mato against the decision of Court of Appeal Makurdi division.
The Apex court held that Mato was the winner of the general election of 28 March 2015 with respect to Vandeikya/Konshisha federal constituency.
The apex court ordered that Hembe be replaced immediately with Dorothy Mato, the winner of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Hembe who was re-elected into the House in 2015, was also ordered to return all salaries and benefits collected while in office within 90 days.
The Apex court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Danladi and Hember and issue certificates of return to Lau and Mato.
Also yesterday, a Federal High Court in Abuja affirmed the election of Aminu Tambuwal as the duly elected governor of Sokoto State.
The court in affirming the election dismissed a suit seeking the cancellation of the 2015 governorship election in Sokoto State on the grounds that the All Progressive Congress’s primary that produced Tambuwal as the party’s flag bearer was fraught with irregularities.
The court held that the suit filed by Umaru Dahiru challenging the nomination of Tambuwal as APC candidate lacked merit.
Trial Judge, Justice Gabriel kolawole, who dismissed the suit, saying that the plaintiff was unable to prove the alleged irregularities in the APC primaries.