Taraba South Senatorial Primary Dispute Retrial Adjourned
Following a Supreme Court order, the retrial of the pre-election dispute bothering on the conduct of the 2014 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary election for the purpose of nominating a candidate for the Senate to represent Taraba South Senatorial District of Taraba State, for the 2015 general elections, the court on February 22, 2018, adjourned the resumed retrial of the matter to March 22.
The plaintiff, Mr. Rimande Bitrus Nuhu had filed the suit challenging the election of Mr. Emmanuel Bwacha as the Senator representing Taraba South on the platform of the PDP.
A Federal High Court sitting in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, commenced the retrial of the suit filled by the plaintiff, on January 30.
The matter had gone from the lower court to the Court of Appeal and later the Supreme Court, which ordered a retrial by the Federal High Court.
According to the originating summons dated December 31, 2014, in the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1124/2014, the defendants include Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (1st defendant), the PDP (2nd defendant) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the 3rd defendant.
Section 50(5) of the PDP constitution stated that “In conduct of primaries for the party’s candidate for the post of Senators, the primary shall be held at the senatorial constituency headquarters”, while section 87(4)(c)(I)&(II) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as Amended) for the purpose of selecting candidate for Senate to Represent Taraba South Senatorial District in Taraba State for the 2015 general election provides that:
“(1) A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Act shall hold primaries for aspirants to all elective positions.
(2) The procedure for nomination of candidates by political parties for the various elective positions shall be by direct or indirect primaries.
(3) A political party that adopts the direct primaries procedure shall ensure that all aspirants are given equal opportunity of being voted for by members of the parties.
(4)(c) In the case of nomination to the position of Senatorial Candidate, Senate and State House of Assembly, a political party shall, where they intend to sponsor candidates –
(i) Hold special congresses, in the Senatorial District, Federal Constituency and the State Assembly Constituency respectively with delegates voting for each of the aspirants in the designated centres on specified dates and an order directing the PDP to conduct fresh primary in accordance with the party’s Electoral Guidelines for Primary Elections, 2014 in compliance with the PDP constitution 2012 (as amended) and the provision of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) for the purpose of nominating a Senate Candidate for the party to represent Taraba South Senatorial District in Taraba State.
(7) A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidates shall clearly outline in its constitution and the rules the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress or meeting”.
In his originating summons, the plaintiff had argued that the combined effect of sort a declaration that the Peoples Democratic Party, the 2nd defendant, having not complied with its own Electoral Quidelines for Primary Elections 2014, section 50(5) of the party’s constitution 2012 (as amended) and Section 87(4)(c)(I)&(II) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) has not validly conduct primary election for the purpose of nominating a candidate for the Senate to represent Taraba South Senatorial District in Taraba State, for the 2015 general elections.
Relying upon the fact that contrary to the provisions of Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the PDP moved the primary election for the purpose of nominating its candidates to its headquarters in Abuja and that none of the previously elected ad hoc delegates at its congresses in Taraba South Senatorial District were allowed by the PDP to participate at the primary, the plaintiff is seeking, among others, urged the court to nullify the PDP primary election that produce the seating Senator on December 11, 2014.
In a similar pre-election matter involving a Senator representing Taraba North, the Supreme Court had sacked Senator Sani Abubakar Danladi and ordered his replacement with Senator Shuaibu Lau, however, the Supreme Court ordered a retrial of the case between Mr. Nuhu and Mr. Bwacha.