The Court of Appeal, Abuja, on Thursday dismissed an appeal filed by Mohammed Imam and affirmed Alhaji Gambo Lawan as the authentic PDP governorship candidate for 2015 general elections in Borno.
Delivering ruling, the three-man panel of the Court of Appeal refused to grant Imam’s application seeking to stay the execution of the Abuja Federal High Court which had ordered PDP and INEC to recognise Lawan.
The court said: “The main contentious issue is the application for stay of execution of the judgment of the Abuja Federal High Court judgment, pending the hearing and determination of the pending appeal.
“Having perused all the arguments canvassed by counsel to parties and taken judicial notice of the April 11 date for the governorship election, we cannot close our eyes to the need for accelerated hearing and abridgment of time as prayed by counsel.
“The applications for stay of execution of the trial court’s judgment pending the hearing and determination of the main appeal pending before this court is hereby refused.’’
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, the trial judge, had on March 18 ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and PDP to recognize Alhaji Gambo Lawan as Borno PDP governorship candidate for 2015 general elections.
It would be recalled that Lawan who won last year’s Borno PDP governorship primary election was later replaced with Alhaji Mohammed Imam by the party.
This prompted Lawan to institute the suit challenging the party’s decision and seeking to replace Imam whose name had already been forwarded to INEC by PDP.
Mohammed had further held that Lawan actually won the primary election conducted by the party and that it was wrong for PDP to have substituted his name with Imam’s.
He, therefore, ordered INEC to recognize Lawan as the authentic Borno PDP governorship candidate for the 2015 general elections in place of Imam.
The judge also directed PDP to take steps to list Lawan’s name as the governorship candidate and forward same to INEC in place of Imam’s name for the purpose of the election.
Unsatisfied with the trial court’s decision, Imam, through his counsel, Mr Wole Olanipekun (SAN), appealed the judgment and prayed the appellate court to stay its execution pending its hearing and final determination.
Mr Marcel Oru, Lawan’s counsel, however, argued that he had served the enrolled order of the court’s judgment on INEC immediately after the judgment and INEC replaced his client’s name with Lawan’s as ordered by the trial court.
He, therefore urged the appellate court to dis countenance Ima’s application and affirm his client’s candidature as ordered by the lower court.