By Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
A Federal High Court sitting in Jalingo has disqualified the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate in Taraba State, Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi, from contesting Saturday’s election in the state.
The presiding judge, Justice Stephen Pam, also restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and APC from recognising, accepting or treating Danladi as the candidate of APC in the governorship election.
The plaintiffs in the suit, Usman Udi, Joshua Paaku, George Geoffrey and Tanko Muslim Munkaila had through an originating summons dated 9th of January, 2019 sought for the disqualification of Danladi on the grounds that the information contained in the affidavit he swore to support his personal particulars was false.
The defendants in the suit are Danladi, who is the first defendant; APC and INEC, which are the second and third defendants respecfully.
The court held that the information contained in the affidavit that Danladi was born on 14th of February, 1968 is in conflict with his date of birth contained in the West African Senior School Certificate (WASSC) he submitted to INEC, which indicates that he was born on 3rd of April, 1977.
Justice Pam further declared as false, the information given by Danladi in the affidavit supporting his personal particulars in the INEC Form CF 001 submitted to INEC.
The court thereby disqualified Danladi from contesting the gubernatorial election in the state scheduled to hold on Saturday, 9th of March or any subsequent date to be slated based on the false declaration of age.
The court went further to prohibit Danladi from parading himself as the candidate of APC in the governorship election but failed to make any order regarding costs.
“The third defendant is hereby restrained from recognising, accepting or treating the first defendant as the candidate of the second defendant in the governorship election for Taraba State slated for 9th March 2019 or any other subsequent date to be slated.
“The second defendant (APC) is restrained from recognising, holding out or treating the first defendant as its candidate in the governorship election for Taraba State slated for 9th March 2019 or any subsequent date to be slated.
“The first defendant is hereby prohibited from parading himself as the candidate of the second defendant in the governorship election for Taraba State slated for 9th March 2019 or any subsequent date to be slated,” the court stated.
But reacting to the judgment, the APC in the state has urged its supporters to discountenance and disregard any issue or rumour regarding the eligibility of Danladi to contest the election.
In a statement signed by its state publicity secretary, Aaron Artimas, the party described the judgment as mischievous and a desperate attempt by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to escape defeat in the election.
The APC however noted that it has already taken legal steps to set aside the judgment just as it called on its members to continue with their campaigns and preparations towards the election.