FULL LIST: Seven (7) Lawmakers Sacked By Appeal Court
In the past few weeks, the sacking of lawmakers by the Court of Appeal from their respective seats has set many tongues wagging.
In separate judgments by the Appeal Court, each of the federal lawmakers got sacked for different reasons.
Elisha Abbo (Adamawa North) was the first to be sacked followed by Abubakar Sadiku-Ohere (Kogi Central). The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division also sacked Darlington Nwokocha
Simon Mwadkwon (Plateau North) was the third senator who was removed by the appeal court. It, however, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a rerun within 90 days.
Abbo and Sadiku-Ohere are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mwadkwon is a member of the PDP and the minority leader of the Senate.
The Nation’s Alao Abiodun chronicles the timeline of activities below:
- Kwankwaso vs Datti
The Court of Appeal in Abuja sacked Musa Ilyasu Kwankwaso of the All Progressives Congress and reinstated Yusuf Umar Datti of the New Nigeria People’s Party in the Kura/Madobi/Garun Malam Federal Constituency Election.
The three-panel led by Justice Tunde Oyebamiji Awotoye allowed an Appeal by Yusuf Datti and averred that the tribunal was wrong to have counted the date of the Appellant’s resignation on the date of his party’s primary election and that Section 77 of the Electoral Act was misapplied, saying no court has jurisdiction on the issue of membership of the party.
- Nwokocha vs Akobundu
The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division also sacked Darlington Nwokocha, the Senate minority chief whip, representing Abia Central under the platform of the Labour Party (LP).
The court declared Augustine Akobundu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the authentic winner of the 25 February election in the senatorial district.
Akobundu, a retired colonel, is a former minister of state for Defence and former national organising secretary of the PDP.
- Suswam vs Udende
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja also sacked the former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, from the Senate.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Udende the winner of the February 25 election after scoring 135,573 votes to defeat Senator Gabriel Suswam of the Peoples Democratic Party who garnered 112,231 votes.
The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of Justices, said it was satisfied that Suswam was not the valid winner of the senatorial election that was held in Benue North East on February 25.
It faulted the judgement of the Benue State National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, which returned Suswam of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the Senate, after it nullified the election victory of Mr. Emmanuel Udende of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
According to the appellate court, the tribunal wrongly evaluated the evidence that was presented before it by the parties in the matter and thereby arrived at an erroneous conclusion that upheld the petition Suswam filed to challenge Udende’s election victory.
Consequently, the court voided the judgment of the tribunal, saying it found merit in the appeal that was lodged before it by the APC candidate.
- Senator Abbo vs Amos Yohanna
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division also sacked Senator Ishaku Abbo, the lawmaker representing Adamawa North Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
The court voided the election of Abbo of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in favour of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Amos Yohanna.
The Court of Appeal, after hearing arguments from parties, agreed with Usman that based on Section 137 of the Electoral Act, 2022, the results tendered clearly showed that there was no compliance with the Electoral Act.
The court, thereafter, deducted the invalid votes from both parties and found that Yohanna and the PDP won the election by a majority of lawful votes.
- Hon. Jingi Rufai vs Hon. Jaafar Magaji
An Appeal court sitting in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja also sacked the member representing Mubi North, Mubi South and Maiha of Adamawa State, at the House of Representatives, Hon. Jingi Rufai.
The court had sacked the People Democratic Party (PDP) candidate at the 2023 National Assembly election while declaring Hon. Jaafar Magaji of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as the winner of the election for the constituency & ordered INEC to issue him with a certificate of return.
- Ohere vs Natasha Akpoti
The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal affirmed Natasha Akpoti-Uduagan (PDP) as the winner of the Kogi Central Senatorial Election conducted earlier in February.
The court dismissed the appeal filed by Senator Abubakar Sadiku Ohere (APC, Kogi Central) for lacking in merit.
Recall that in September, the Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal in Lokoja had nullified the victory of the Senate Chairman Committee on Local Content, Ohere of the All Progressives Congress.
Ohere, however, headed to the appellate court to seek redress but the court rejected his appeal and upheld Akpoti-Uduagan as the winner of the election.
- Mohammed Salihu vs Abubakar Baba Zango
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja also set aside the judgment of the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Yola, Adamawa State, which had affirmed Mohammed Salihu as duly nominated by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to contest for the last House of Representatives election.
Salihu contested for the Girei/Yola South/Yola North federal constituency election and won.
The lower court had dismissed the petition filed by Abubakar Baba Zango and the All Progressives Congress (APC) which contended that the PDP lawmaker was at the time of the National Assembly elections on February 25, not qualified to run because he allegedly presented a forged primary school certificate and birth certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Abubakar’s legal team had prayed the tribunal to nullify the PDP candidate’s election on that ground as well as order INEC to issue him a certificate of return having emerged as second runner-up in the said election.
But during its judgment at the time, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Aloysius Okuma, dismissed Abubakar’s petition saying he failed to provide credible evidence to prove his certificate forgery allegations, especially in the area of name variation.
Dissatisfied, Abubakar’s lawyer, F.K. Idepefo, approached the Appeal Court to set aside the judgment and declare his client the House of Representatives member for the constituency in dispute.
Idepefo contended in his processes that “the justices of the election tribunal completely misconceived the case of the appellants in resolving that Salih, Salisu or Salihu is a misnomer or a variant of the name Salihu, as that was not the case of the appellants, rather, the case of the appellants is that certificates presented to INEC were forged.”
Credit: The Nation