Appeal court upholds Bwacha, Binani as APC governorship candidates in Adamawa, Taraba

The Court of Appeal sitting in Yola on Thursday upheld the governorship candidacy of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates, Emmanuel Bwacha and Aishatu Binani for Taraba and Adamawa states respectively.

The Appeal Court, in a unanimous decision of the judges, set aside a ruling of the High Court nullifying the primaries that produced their candidacy and ordered that their names be submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the APC governorship candidates for the 2 states.

The Court of Appeal had a panel of 3 justices which was presided over by Justice T. Y Hassan, with 2 other judges namely M. O. Bolaji and J. G. Abundaga.

For the record: Recall that on September 20, 2022, a Federal High Court sitting in Jalingo presided over by Justice Simon Amobeda, nullified the governorship primary election that produced Senator Emmanuel Bwacha as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the 2023 election.

In his ruling in the case filed by one of the governorship aspirants, David Kente, the judge directed INEC to conduct a fresh governorship primary in the state within 14 days.

The judge had argued that it is not possible for all the primary results to have the same handwriting while the returning officer declared that no primary was held in the state at the police headquarters due to security threats.

The court also ordered Bwacha to stop parading himself as the governorship candidate of the APC, as well as INEC to stop recognising him as a candidate.

Bwacha, a former member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former deputy minority leader of the Senate later appealed the judgment and alleged that the ruling PDP in Taraba State is the major cause of the APC problems within the state.

In a related development, the Federal High Court in Yola, Adamawa State, had on October 13, nullified the candidature of Binani as the governorship candidate of the APC in the state.

In a suit FHC/YL/CS/12/2022 filed by another APC governorship aspirant in Adamawa, Nuhu Ribadu, the court declared Binani’s candidature invalid and unlawful.

Justice Abdulaziz Anka declared that the judgment was based on substantial evidence of non-compliance with the party guidelines and that of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The court also refused to order a fresh APC governorship primary in Adamawa State.

Dissatisfied by the court ruling, which refused to order a fresh primary that would have allowed him to contest in a fresh governorship primary,  Ribadu filed an appeal in suit NO.CA/YL/203/2022 between him and All Progressives Congress and two others.