By Abdulkareem Haruna
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Borno State may have lost out in the 2023 Boro Central Senatorial election following two court judgments passed this week, the legal team of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said.
APC head of the legal team, Abdulwasiu Alfa (Esq), who said this in a press statement, referred to two judgments delivered on Monday and Tuesday which sacked Umara Kumalia and Jibrin Tatabe, who were in court over the ticket as candidates of the party.
The lawyer said certain media reports were misleading about the news emanating from a court judgment in Abuja on Tuesday, of which the court had thrown out a suit on alleged forgery of signature against Umara Kumalia, by Jibrin Tatabe, who alleged that he was wrongly replaced with Kumalia as the candidate for the 2023 Borno Central senatorial district election.
The erroneous media reports, according to Barrister Alfa, claimed Kumalia had been cleared to run as the PDP candidate.
The Humanitarian Times learned that on Monday, a Judge of the Federal High Court Maiduguri Division, Justice Jude Dagat, had delivered judgment in a suit number: FHC/MG/ CS/ 54/22, between APC and Kaka Shehu Lawan, as plaintiffs versus PDP, Mohammed Umara Kumalia and two others, as defendants, where he orders that “the 1st Defendant (PDP) cannot sponsor, nominate or forward the name of anybody to the 3rd Defendant (INEC) as its candidate for the election mentioned above except a candidate that emerged from the valid primary election of the 1st Defendant
Justice Dagat also gave an order “setting aside the publication of the 3rd Defendant containing the name of the 2nd Defendant (Kumalia) published on the 20th day of September 2022, the 2nd Defendant having
not emanated from any valid primary election conducted by the 1st Defendant.
The Court, therefore, issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd Defendant (Kumalia) forthwith from parading himself as the Senatorial candidate of the 1st
Defendant for Borno Central Senatorial District in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
“As you are all aware by now, the APC, along with its Candidate for Borno Central Senatorial District, Kaka Shehu Lawan Esq, has approached the Federal High Court Maiduguri Division to determine the propriety or otherwise of the acceptance of nomination of one Muhammad Umara Kumalia as the Candidate of the PDP for Borno Central Senatorial District in the forthcoming 2023 General Election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in gross violation of the combined provisions of Section 285(14) (c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Sections 29(1) and 84(1) of the Electoral Act 2022.”
Barrister Alfa further stated that “the above provisions of the laws allow the APC, in exercising its right as provided by the Constitution, that the APC, as a registered political party, and its Candidate challenged the publication of the name of one Muhammad Umara Kumalia as the Candidate of the PDP for Borno Central Senatorial District on the 20th day of September 2022, because he (Kumalia) did not emerge from any valid primary or rerun election as contemplated by law.”
The APC had told the court that the acceptance of Kumalia’s name by INEC and subsequent publication of his name as Candidate of the PDP by INEC was “illegal, null, void and of no legal effect based on the provision of the Constitution and the Electoral Act 2022.”
However, Barrister Alfa said, “In a reserved judgment delivered by the Federal High Court Maiduguri Division on the 9th day of January 2023 in upholding the argument of APC and its Candidate granted the reliefs as contained in the attached enrolled order of the Honourable Court which effectively laid to rest the candidacy of Muhammad Umara Kumalia.
“Meanwhile, one Jibrin Mustapha Tatabe has also instituted a case against PDP and Muhammad Umara Kumalia before the Federal High Court Abuja Division challenging the unlawful withdrawal of his nomination and seeking to be declared the authentic Candidate of the PDP had won the primary election of the party for Borno Central Senatorial District in the forthcoming 2023 election.
“In a considered judgment delivered by the Federal High Court Abuja Division on the 10th day of January 2023, the case filed by Jibrin Mustapha Tatabe was dismissed on the grounds of incompetence.
“In other words, the Federal High Court in Abuja had, while delivering judgment on the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1240/22, as filed by Tatabe, refused to recognize Jibrin Mustapha Tatabe as the Candidate of the PDP for Borno Central Senatorial District while the Federal High Court Maiduguri Division had already set-aside the nomination of Muhammad Umara Kumalia as the Candidate of the PDP for Borno Central Senatorial District.
“The cumulative effect of the two judgments is that neither Muhammad Umara Kumalia nor Jibrin Mustapha Tatabe is a Candidate in Borno Central Senatorial District Election.
“Thus, the PDP does not have a candidate to contest the Borno Central Senatorial District election in 2023 as both candidates have lost out in both courts.
“It is instructive to sound a note of warning here that any claim, presentation, or parading of Muhammad Umara Kumalia as the Candidate of the PDP for Borno Central Senatorial District amounts to contempt of court.
“So as it stands today, the 11th day of January 2023, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has no Candidate to contest in the Borno Central Senatorial District in the 2023 General Election,” said the APC Legal team leader.
The Lawyer challenged the media to compel Kumalia to tender the legal order he claimed emanated from the Federal High Court Abuja, affirming him as a candidate.