THE Supreme Court has affirmed Marama Abba of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the validly elected candidate for the Borno House of Assembly representing Hawul State Constituency in the Saturday’s election.
The five-member panel headed by Justice John Okoro, in a judgment, held that Abba’s appeal was meritorious and deserved to be allowed.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Abba, who was the appellant, had appealed against Court of Appeal judgment which declared Alhaji Ado Haruna the valid candidate for the house of assembly constituency election.
While Haruna was the 1st respondent, PDP and INEC were 2nd and 3rd respondents respectively in the suit marked: SC/CV/73/2023.
Haruna had approached a Federal High Court (FHC), Maiduguri, to seek for an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept and publish his name as PDP candidate as sent by the party to it, following Abba’s voluntary withdrawal from the race.
In the originating summons, Haruna sued the PDP and INEC but the trial court dismissed the case.
Dissatisfied with the judgment, Haruna appealed the matter at Appeal Court in Abuja where he was declared the valid candidate of PDP candidate representing Hawul State Constituency on Dec. 29, 2022.
But Abba, in his appeal filed by his counsel, Johnson Usman, SAN, at the apex court, denied withdrawing his candidature at anytime.
Usman prayed the court to hold that the purported letter of withdrawal allegedly signed by Abba was invalid.
He said Abba was the candidate who won the PDP House of Assembly primary election conducted on May 22, 2022, and had not withdrawn his candidacy.
Besides, the senior lawyer argued that Abba was not joined as a party in the suit filed before the FHC Maiduguri by Haruna.
He said failure to join him was a violation of his right to fair hearing and urged the court to declare that he never withdrew his candidacy from the election.
Delivering the judgment on Feb. 27, Justice Okoro, who agreed with Usman’s submission, affirmed Abba as the rightful candidate for the March 18 House of Assembly poll in the constituency.
The court held that since Abba was a necessary party who ought to be joined to the suit originally but was not joined, his right to fair hearing was breached.
The court held that the judgment of the Court of Appeal was obtained by fraud, misrepresentation and concealment of facts.
It further held that there was no evidence that Abbas withdrew his candidacy and set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
The apex court also awarded the cost of N5million against the 1st respondent (Haruna) in favour of Abba.(NAN)