Three days to the governorship election, a Federal High Court in Jalingo, Taraba state, has disqualified the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Sani Danladi.
The ruling was based on alleged falsification of age in the documents Danladi presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Justice Steven Pam gave the judgment while ruling on the case brought before the court by Mr. Usman Udi and three others against Abubakar Sani Danladi, APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission, challenging the eligibility of Sani Danladi to contest the governorship election in the state.
In a suit N0. FHC/JAL/CS/1/2019 and filed on 9th day of January, 2019, the plaintiff sought the order of the court to stop Abubakar Sani Danladi from contesting the election on the ground of false declaration of age.
In his judgment, Justice Pam ruled that there were discrepancies in the age declaration of the 1st Defendant (Abubakar Sani Danladi).
The judge noted that the information contained in the affidavit of the 1st defendant’s personal particulars that he was born on 14th February, 1968 was in conflict with his date of birth contained in the West African Senior School Certificate submitted by him to the 3rd defendant, the Independent National Electoral Commission which indicates that he was born on 3rd April, 1977.
“That the information given by the 1st defendant (Abubakar Sani Danladi) as to his age in the affidavit in support of his personal particulars in the INEC Form CF001 submitted to the 3rd defendant (The Independent National Electoral Commission) by him is hereby declared false.
“That the 1st defendant is hereby disqualified from contesting election as the candidate of the 2nd defendant (The All Progressives Congress) in the governorship election for Taraba state slated for 9th March, 2019 or any subsequent date to be slated on the ground that the information contained in the affidavit in support of the 1st defendant’s personal particulars in the INEC Form CF001 submitted to the 3rd defendant as to his age is false.”
Danladi’s major contender in the race is Darius Ishaku, the incumbent governor, who is running on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Reacting to the development, the Chairman of the APC in Taraba, Alhaji Ibrahim El-Sudi, said Alhaji Sani Abubakar remained the party’s governorship candidate in the state.
El-Sudi, who was reacting to a Federal High Court order earlier in the day in Jalingo, which disqualified Abubakar said that the same case had been determined and dismissed by a superior court in 2007.
The Chairman noted that the party’s team of lawyers were already moving to appeal the “mischievous judgement”.
He urged the party supporters to continue with their campaign for the Saturday’s governorship polls to ensure victory for the party.
The APC Publicity Secretary in Taraba, Aaron Artimas, also issued a statement which described the judgment as “mischievous and comical” as the case was filed by “some unknown persons parading as concerned citizens, who raised the issue of a purported improper declaration of age by Sani Danladi.
“The so-called concerned citizens claimed that there were discrepancies in the declaration of age as contained in Sani Danladi’s SSCE and his statutory declaration of age in the year 2000.
“However, we wish our teeming supporters to note that this issue had been taken to court in the year 2007 and was subsequently dismissed by the Appeal Court. It should also be noted that all judgments passed by the Appeal Court supersede those of the lower courts in the whole country.
“There also legal process involved in the substitution of candidates by INEC and therefore a court judgment does not automatically translate to disqualification to contest an election.
“By this explanation, we are calling on all law-abiding citizens and APC members throughout the state to remain calm and discountenance or disregard any issue or rumour regarding the eligibility of His Excellency to contest Saturday’s Gubernatorial Elections.
“Legal steps have already commenced to set aside this mischievous judgment which we view as another desperate attempt by agents of the PDP and the state government to escape defeat on Saturday.
“All APC members are hereby called upon to continue with their campaigns and preparations towards the elections. All our agents are also hereby directed to ensure that they dutifully accompany all sensitive materials and to ensure their distributions to all designated voting areas,” Artimas said.