A Federal High Court, Abuja, will on March 13 decide whether to allow the plaintiff, Umaru Dahiru,to amend a suit he brought against Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, seeking the nullification of his nomination as the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 governorship election.
The current suit is in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling of Dec. 9, 2016, which ordered the court to retry the case on its merit and make decisions as demanded by law.
Dahiru is seeking nullification of Tambuwal’s nomination as APC candidate in the 2015 governorship election in the state on the ground that he was usurped of the candidacy of the party in favour of Tambuwal.
When the case came up on Tuesday, counsel to the plaintiff, Ikoro I. Ikoro prayed the court to allow his client effect amendment in the originating summon.
Counsel to the first defendant, APC and the second defendant, Tambuwal countered the application.
Jibrin Okutekpa, APC’s counsel, asked the court to dismiss the proposed amendment because a case ordered by the Supreme Court for retrial cannot be amended.
According to him: “After victory at Supreme Court, they now came to High Court, seeking to change the character of the case which the Supreme Court referred to this court. A party must be consistent in arguing and proofing his case”, he said.
Okutekpa further stated that the plaintiff did not seek that he should be sworn in as Governor at the Supreme Court but now came around now to seek for it which is contrary to what the Supreme Court ordered to be retrailed.
“He now wants to be sworn in without primary. He wants to be return now as the winer of the primary, which he did not recognise at the Supreme Court”, he said
Counsel to Tambuwal, Sunday . I. Ameh, aligned himself with the submission of Okutekpa.
He added that the court do not have jurisdiction to entertain the amendment proposal
“This court does not have jurisdiction to entertain the amendment and you cannot grant relief on a matter you do not have jurisdiction over. The relief he is seeking, he ought to seek in the Election Tribunal and not at the High Court”, he asserted.
He further stated that part of the deposition of the applicant falls short of Section 115 of the Evidence Act 2011.
“I submit that this court has jurisdiction to grant amendments in appeals and originating summons but has no power to grant amendment to that which will change the character of a case.
“He challenged the primary that produced second defendant and prayed for an order striking down that primary and in another flak he is asking the court to recognise him as winner if the same primary, which are all contradictory”, Ameh submitted.
He noted that the new claims from the amendment proposed sought the nullification of the primary and wants be installed as the Governor which under 285 (I) of the Constitution rests the jurisdiction in an Election Tribunal and not in this court.
“The applicant is seeking the irder of this court to bring an action which is statutorical. It is lacking in merit and should be struck out”, Ameh urged the court.
Responding, Ikoro shot down the authority cited by Ameh and said it was not applicable in this matter.
He said a Supreme Court ruling has resolved that any matter before the court before the election should continue, despite the election may have been concluded.
He told the Court that the character of the case has not been changed, that the court could make a consequential orders for compensation to be made to the plaintiff, adding the court has the right to grant the amendments.
After listening to all the counsels, the trial Judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole adjourned till March 13 for ruling.
Earlier, Ikoro brought application to strike out part of the originating summons, pre-appeal matter, which defence counsels did not oppose. Consequently, it was struck out.