A Federal High Court on Monday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept and publish the name of one Sani Yakubu Noma as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Argungu/Augie Federal Constituency for the 2023 general elections.
The court nullified the substitution of name of the plaintiff carried out by PDP leadership on the ground of being unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional.
Noma in a suit against PDP and others had claimed that he contested the primary election of PDP for Argungu/Augie Federal Constituency conducted on 25th May, 2022 and emerged victorious having polled the highest number of votes.
However, in place of his name, he alleged that PDP submitted the name of another person, one Garuba Argungu who at the time, contested only the Kebbi State Governorship primary and lost.
Dissatisfied with the substitution of his name, Noma through his counsel, Mr John Usman, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN sued PDP, Garuba, INEC and others challenging the unlawful replacement of his name on the INEC list.
In his judgment on Monday, Justice Baba Gana Ashigar held that PDP acted utra vires in the ways and manners the name of the plaintiff was substituted.
Justice Ashigar while voiding the substitution for being unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional, proceeded to set it aside.
The Judge subsequently ordered the electoral body to immediately accept and publish the name of the plaintiff as the valid candidate of PDP for the Federal Constituency in the February next year House of Representatives election.
Justice Ashigar prohibited PDP and INEC from recognising, accepting or listing any other name other than that of the plaintiff for the House of Representatives election.
PDP and Garba Argungu had, upon being served with the originating summons, filed preliminary objections to the suit challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the case.
But Justice Ashigar dismissed the preliminary objections against the plaintiff’s suit and agreed with Usman SAN that the preliminary objections were frivolous, baseless and unwarranted.
In considering the originating summons, the Court upheld all the arguments of the plaintiff through his Counsel Usman, SAN that the case of the plaintiff is meritorious and ought to be granted the reliefs sought.
The Judge thereafter ordered INEC to accept and publish the name of the plaintiff as the candidate of PDP for Argungu/Augie Federal Constituency in the 2023 general elections.