*Planned Fresh Primary Illegal
One of the Governorship aspirant in Taraba State, Chief David Sabo Kente, has written to the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) demanding the delisting of APC and it’s purported Gubernatorial candidate, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, as contestants in the 2023 polls.
In a letter to Chairman of INEC through his lawyer, Kanu Agabi, SAN, Chief Kente said by virtue of the pronouncements of the Supreme Court, the APC has no valid candidate contesting for the number one office in that state.
He also told the INEC not to accord any legitimacy to the February 10, 2023 planned fresh governorship primary election in Taraba State.
Find below the full text of the letter submitted by Chief Kente to the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday.
Independent Electoral Commission (INEC)
Tigris Street, Maitama, Abuja.
NOTICE FOR THE CONDUCT OF FRESH GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY ELECTION IN TARABA STATE ISSUED BY THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC) DATED 2ND FEBRUARY, 2023 AFTER THE JUDGMENT OF THE SUPREME OF NIGERIA ON THE STATE OF ALL PROGRESSIVE CONGRESS (APC) GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY ELECTION IN TARABA STATE.
We write as Counsel to David Sabo Kente in respect of the above captioned.
Recall that our Client by suit No. FHC/JAL/CS/24/2022 ( in which INEC was the 1st Defendant) filed before the Federal High Court, Jalingo, Taraba State among others sought for the following reliefs.
1. A DECLARATION that by mandatory provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, the 3rd Defendant’s constitution of March, 2022 (as amended), 3rd Defendant’s Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for the 2023 General Elections, there was no governorship primary election known to law conducted by the 3rd Defendant in Taraba State for the nomination of the 3rd Defendant’s candidate for the 2023 govenrorship election for Taraba State.
2. A DECLARATION that the purported governorship primary election conducted by the 3rd Defendant for the nomination of its candidate for the 2023 governorship election in Taraba State, violated the Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended), the 3rd Defendant’s constitution of March, 2022 (as amended) and the 3rd Defendant’s Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for the 2023 General Elections and was therefore a sham and illegal.
3. A DECLARATION that that the 3rd Defendant has no validly nominated candidate for the 2023 governorship elections of Taraba State of Nigeria and no candidate presented by the 3rd Defendant in respect of the Governorship of Taraba State should be accepted by the 1st Defendant.
4. A DECLRATION that the 3rd Defendant owed the Plaintiff a duty to provide an equal opportunity to vote and be voted for in the governorship primary election to nominate its candidate for office of Governor in the general elections coming up in 2023 and its failure to do so constituted a breach of its contract with the Plaintiff as an aspirant as well as its statutory duty to (sic) conduct the primary election for nomination of its candidate for the 2023 governorship elections for Taraba State of Nigeria in accordance with the Electoral Act, 2022.
5. PERPETUAL INJUNCTUON restraining 3rd Defendant from presenting 2nd Defendant as its governorship candidate for the governorship election for Taraba State in the 2023 general elections and from submitting his name to the 1st Defendant as its candidate for the governorship election for Taraba State.
6. PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the 2nd Defendant from holding out, or carrying on or parading himself as the 3rd Defendant’s governorship candidate for the 2023 general elections for Taraba State.
7. A PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the 1st Defendant or any of its officers, servants or agents from accepting any submission by the 3rd Defendant of the name of the 2nd Defendant or recognizing the 2nd Defendant as the 3rd Defendant’s gubernatorial candidate for the 2023 governorship election in Taraba State;
8. A MANDATORY INJUNCTION compelling the 1st Defendant to delist the names of the 2nd and 3rd Defendants (if submitted or accepted) from amongst the list of political parties and gubernatorial candidates respectively for the February 2023 general elections for the office of Governor of Taraba State.
9. AN ORDER directing the 3rd Defendant to refund to the Plaintiff, at once and in full, the sum of N58,120,000.00 (Fifty-eight million, One hundred and Twenty thousand naira only) being the cost of expression of interest and nomination form, and sundry expenses incurred/purchased by the Plaintiff for the gubernatorial primary election for Taraba State in his bid to be the 3rd Defendant’s candidate for the 2023 governorship election for Taraba State.
10. AN ORDER directing the 3rd Defendant to pay interest on the said sum of N58,120,000.00 at the rate of 26% per annum from the 29th day of April, 2022 when the sum was paid, till same is fully and finally liquidated by the 3rd Defendant.
11. N1,000,000,000.00 (One billion naira only) payable by the 3rd Defendant being exemplary and general damages for its breach of contract and statutory duties in failing to conduct a primary election according to law to the detriment of the Plaintiff.
The Federal High Court presided over by Hon. Justice Simon Amobeda delivered its judgment specifically on the 20th day of September, 2022 nullifying the Gubernatorial primary election purportedly conducted in Taraba State by the All Progressive Congress (APC). The said court further granted our Client’s relief number 8 directing your office to forthwith delist the names of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and that of its purported candidate (Senator Emmanuel Bwacha) if submitted or accepted from amongst the political parties and gubernatorial candidates respectively for the February 2023 general election for the office of Governor of Taraba state.
It is worthy of note that the Supreme Court of Nigeria by its judgment delivered on the 1st day of February, 2023 among others, affirmed the above findings of the Federal High Court, Jalingo by granting our Client’s reliefs 1 to 8 of our Client as contained in the originating summons.
It has however come to our attention that the Headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) issued a letter dated the 2nd day of February, 2023 (copy enclosed) headed NOTICE FOR THE CONDUCT OF FRESH GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY ELECTION IN TARABA STATE purporting to fix a fresh primary election for the 10th day of February, 2023, falsely alleging that the Supreme Court of Nigeria ordered for the conduct of fresh primary elections.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria did not make any such order. Rather, the Supreme Court of Nigeria ordered that INEC should delist the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the list of political parties to participate in the 2023 Governorship election.
We are not unmindful that your office was a party to our Client’s suit from the trial Court to the Supreme Court and therefore well informed of the implication of the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the 2003 Governorship election for the office of Governor of Taraba State.
Consequently, it would be contempt of the Supreme Court for INEC to send its members of staff to monitor or otherwise participate in the manifestly unlawful purported primary election fixed by the All Progressives Congress in defiance of the judgment of the Apex Court in the land.
For avoidance of doubt, we have a legal duty to draw your attention to the following :
1. That the Supreme Court has in clear terms directed your office to delist the name of All Progressive Congress (APC) from amongst the political parties that will participate in the gubernatorial general election for Taraba State slated to hold this month of February, 2023. This order is subsisting and binding on your office and you are therefore, required to give effect to it forthwith. In this regards, section 287(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria imposes a duty on your highly esteemed office to ensure that the decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria is enforced.
2. That the judgment of the Supreme court does not admit of any primary election to be conducted by the All Progressive Congress (APC) with a view to nominating a candidate for the 2003 Governorship election for Taraba State.
3. The time within which political parties were to give statutory notice and to conduct primary election for nomination of candidates and to submit the names of such candidates to your office and for the publication of particulars of candidates has since closed.
Given the above background, we urge your office to give full effect to the judgment of the Apex Court and should not identify with any purported primary election and/or any name of candidate flowing therefrom.
Accept the assurances of our highest regards.
Kanu Agabi, SAN.