Aminu Tambuwal, former speaker of the house of representatives, on Friday succeeded in retaining his position as governor of Sokoto state, but his legal battles are far from over.
Although the supreme court declined to unseat him, it ordered the High Court to retry the case brought by Umaru Dahiru, a former senator, challenging the nomination of Tambuwal as candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the April 2015 governorship election
Dahiru contested the December 2014 primary of the party but lost to Tambuwal, who eventually went on to win the gubernatorial poll conducted and was subsequently sworn in as governor.
Imam Imam, Tambuwal’s spokesman, said the appellate court, in a judgement written by Musa Dattijo Muhammed JSC and read by CC Nweze, both justices, held that rather than consider the case as mere academic exercise, the high court should retry the case on its merit.
Paul Kassim, counsel to Tambuwal, who led six other lawyers, said the defence were satisfied with the ruling and would get set for trial at the Federal High Court.
“Our position remains unchanged, that our client was validly nominated by the APC and was duly elected governor by the good people of Sokoto State,” he told reporters after the judgement.
In June, the supreme court had held that PDP and Abdallah Wali, a former senator, lacked the locus standi to apply to be joined in the suit, describing the two as interlopers who should not take part in a matter purely involving another party.
Sokoto PDP initially announced its intention not to challenge Tambuwal’s election, but it eventually sought to be joined as parties in Dahiru’s suit on the grounds that if it succeeds, Wali would be declared winner of the election.
In a notice of motion for joinder filed at the apex court by EK Ashiekaa SAN, Wali and PDP contended that having participated in the 2015 governorship election, and having scored the next highest number of votes cast after that of Tambuwal, they had sufficient grounds to be joined in the case.
They said the reliefs sought by Dahiru would have an effect on the outcome of the Sokoto governorship election by creating a vacuum.
“That the vacuum likely to be created by the success of the Appellants appeal can only be filled by the applicant who scored the next highest returned votes,” they argued.
However, Justice Galadima struck out the application.