For the second time in thirteen months, Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako has been sacked by a court of law. The Appeal Court sitting in Yola, the state’s capital has ruled that the shadow elections of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) through which Nyako emerged as the party’s flag bearer in 2012 was characterised by breach of the constitution, the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, and the provisions of the PDP Constitution.
The court therefore ruled that Governor Murtala Nyako was not duly nominated as stipulated by the provisions of the Electoral Act, the PDP Constitution and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In the ruling, Justice Ignatius Igwe, who read the lead judgment stated that the primary election that produced Admiral Nyako (rtd) was an invalid exercise which lacks legal ingredients. The judge accused the PDP, which was joined as a defendant in the suit, of criminal discrimination against Dr. Umar Ardo. .
Though the primaries were declared invalid by the court, the judge noted that the court was constrained by Section 31 sub-Section (1) of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended, to order for a fresh primary election. Justice Igwe pointed out that the evidence before the court proved that the fundamental human rights of Dr. Umar Ardo, who showed interest to participate in the primary election, were trampled upon by denying his supporters nomination forms to participate as delegates.
The judge also stated that Dr Ardo failed to prove to the court that he participated in the primary election in which Nyako was declared winner; he therefore ruled that Ardo lacks the constitutional powers to challenge the outcome of the election since he was not a participant in the controversial primary election.
On the jurisdiction to hear the matter, Justice S. Denton-West held that Section 87, sub-section 4 empowers Federal High Court, state High Court and the FCT High Court to preside over such complaints brought before them. Reacting after the session, Nyako’s counsel, Ayo Akam, who stood in for Kanu Agabi (SAN) described the ruling as a judgment for democracy.
Dr Ardo, on his part however vowed to approach the Supreme Court as he said the ruling was not based on law, but on language technicality. He said he won four of the five prayers he sought at the appellate court.
“One of the exhibits my counsel tendered before the court was my election result, which shows that I was scored zero. The result was signed by the chairman of the primary election, so, how can the court say that I was not part of the primary election?” Ardo queried.
It will be recalled that Murtala Nyako and his counterparts from Bayelsa, Kogi, Cross River and Sokoto were sacked on January 27, 2012.