Alex Enumah in Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to sack Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, on the grounds that the election that produced him as the party’s candidate in 2014 was marred with irregularities.
Counsel to the APC, Abduganiyu Arobo, in a new twist to the appeal seeking the removal of Tambuwal for not being the lawful candidate of the party, conceded to the appeal filed by Senator Umaru Dahiru to get judgment entered in favour of the appellant.
At the resumed hearing of the appeal yesterday at the apex court, the APC also de-briefed its lead counsel Mr. Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), who stood for the party at the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal where he got favourable judgments for the party. When the matter was called Arobo announced his appearance for APC shortly after the senior lawyer made same appearance.
In the drama that ensued, Arobo told Justice Mohammed Musa Dattijo-led panel that the senior lawyer had been asked to step aside from the suit and that a letter to that effect had been served on him.
Okutepa in response admitted receiving a letter but insisted he would not step aside until the issue of his legal fees is resolved.
Justice Dattijo who demanded for a copy of the letter, drew the attention of the senior counsel to a portion of the letter that he was engaged for the party by governor Tambuwal and that he should approach Tambuwal for the payment of his legal fees.
Consequently, Okutepa announced his withdrawal from the appeal.
He however, told the apex court that he ran into stormy waters with the party when he declined to agree to reverse the positions canvassed by APC at the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal.
He said he declined to agree because in law, parties must be consistent with their position and that APC was no longer ready to be consistent with its earlier position in two previous courts.
Okutepa further said that the new position of APC came about because of the defection of Tambuwal from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), adding that since he is not a politician but a minister in the temple of justice, he could not join them in the new position.
The apex court however, declined to hear the appeal, pending its decision in the preliminary objection against hearing of the suit filed by Tambuwal.
Justice Dattijo subsequently adjourned till March 5, 2019 for hearing of the appeal.
Dahiru also of APC had challenged the nomination of Tambuwal on the ground that the list of delegates who ought to vote at the 2014 primary election of the party was fraudulently swapped to favour governor Tambuwal.
He urged the court to nullify the primary election or in the alternative, declare him as the rightful candidate of the party for the 2015 governorship election.
The appellant lost at the high court and Court of Appeal prompting him to approach the Supreme Court for final decision.