Kaduna - The National and State Assembly
Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kaduna, on Wednesday, nullified the
election of Mrs Comfort Amwe of the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) as member
representing Sanga Constituency in the Kaduna State House of Assembly.
The tribunal equally ordered the Independent National
Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Certificate of Return to Mr Haliru Dangana
of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who had the second highest vote in the
April 11, election.
The case was instituted by Dangana, who urged the tribunal
to declare the votes secured by Amwe unlawful, null and void and return him as
the winner of the election..
Dangana hinged his argument on the ground that Amwe was not
a candidate in the election, as she was neither sponsored by the PDP nor had
her name published in the list of contestants in the said election by INEC.
Joined in the petition were the PDP and INEC as second and
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Amwe’s name
was not published by INEC in deference to an exparte order issued by Justice
M.A Bello, of Kaduna State High Court on Dec. 19, 2014, restraining PDP and
INEC from filing her as a candidate in the election, pending determination of
The court order was issued as a result of the fall out of
the PDP primaries.
Counsel to the petitioner, Mr. Fred Odigi, asked the
tribunal to determine whether Amwe was eligible to contest based on the court
order; whether she was a lawful candidate in the election, and if votes
allocated to her were lawful.
Also read: Tribunal receives 10 petitions on NASS elections in Gombe
In his submissions, counsel to the first respondent, Mr
Gideon Didam argued that Awme was a lawful candidate in the election and was
returned winner by INEC.
Didam argued that the court order which the petitioner
hinged his argument on expired seven days after it was issued.
On his part, counsel to the PDP, Mr. K. A. Hamma, argued
that the first respondents was its lawful candidate in the election which she
participated and won.
According to him, Amwe was not liable to the erroneous
omission of her name in the list of candidates for the election.
INEC admitted omitting the first respondents name from its
published register of candidates and blamed it on administrative error.
In his judgment, Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice
Abdulhamid Abdullahi, upheld the petitioners ground that the first respondent
was not a lawful candidate in the election.
According to him, since the name of the first respondent was
not published in the list of candidates by INEC, it meant that she was not
among the contestants.
“There was no evidence before the tribunal indicating that
the court order was vacated or set aside by any court of law, and ‘court order’
did not represent a name of candidate.
“It is our conclusion therefore, that as at the time of the
election, the first and second respondents were not party to the election.
“As such, the votes allocated to the first respondent by the
third respondents were unlawful and invalid, therefore, making the petitioner,
who scored the second highest lawful votes the winner of the election.''
Abdulahi, therefore directed INEC to issue Dangana a
certificate of return as the winner of the April 11, election, with 18,880
votes over Labour Party's candidate.
In his reaction, Odogi, counsel to the petitioner, described
the judgment as a restoration of hope in the judiciary and thanked the tribunal
for upholding justice.
On his part, Dangana thanked the tribunal for restoring his
Meanwhile, Didam said his client will appeal against the