A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday fixed May 26 for ruling on a suit filed by Senator Dahiru Umar, challenging the emergence of Sokoto State Governor-elect and House of Reps Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, as the Sokoto State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Justice Evoh fixed the date for ruling after hearing the submissions of counsel to parties in the suit.
Umar, a Sokoto State governorship aspirant on APC platform, had sued Tambuwal seeking to nullify his emergence as the party’s candidate in the primary election held on December 14, 2014.
He had argued in the originating summons that the primary election which produced Tambuwal breached not only the provisions of 2010 Electoral Act but also the APC’s electoral guidelines.
Dahiru, in the pre-election suit filed by his lawyer, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), had joined the APC, Tambuwal and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as co-defendants and Mr Aliyu Sanyinna as a co-plaintiff.
At Monday’s proceedings, Tambuwal’s counsel, Mr Jibril Okutepa (SAN), argued that the plaintiffs’ suit had become an academic exercise, having been overtaken by events and urged the court to decline jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter.
He said: “The suit has become academic and when a court lacks jurisdiction to entertain a matter, it does not have the inherent jurisdiction to give life to the matter.
“I want the court to hold that the suit has become academic and should decline jurisdiction. Let the plaintiffs wait til 2019 to try their luck.”
In his submission, the counsel to the 2nd defendant (APC), Mr Sunday Ameh (SAN), aligned himself with Okutepa’s submission and adopted the written submissions of the APC’s counsel.
According to him, any declaration by the court will have no constitutional or electoral significance to the parties before the court because election had already been held and a winner had emerged.
Responding, the plaintiffs’ counsel, Kalu, urged the court to hold that the matter was still alive, insisting that his clients had a reasonable cause of action.
Kalu contended that the plaintiffs were not indolent, and urged the court to invoke it’s powers to look into its records and exercise the power in order to determine whether or not the plaintiffs were indolent as claimed by the defendants.
Justice Chukwu, therefore, adjourned until May 26 for ruling on the suit.