Taraba South Senatorial Seat: Supreme Court affirms Jimkuta as winner

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The Supreme Court, on Friday, affirmed Mr David Jimkuta as the authentic candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, for the senatorial election that was held in Taraba South on February 25.

The apex court, in a unanimous decision by a five-man panel of Justices, dismissed an appeal that was lodged before it by the lawmaker representing Wukari and Ibi Federal Constituency, at the House of Representatives, Hon Danjuma Shiddi.

Hon. Shiddi had approached the apex court, insisting that he was the rightful holder of the senatorial ticket of the APC, in the election that was declared in favour of the party.

He urged the Supreme Court to set aside the judgment of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, which upheld the nomination of a first-timer, Mr  Jimkuta, as the lawful candidate of the party for the senatorial contest.

However, in its lead judgement that was prepared by Justice Centus Nweze and delivered by Justice Adamu Jauro on Friday, the apex court dismissed the appeal for being incompetent and lacking in merit.

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The apex court held that it found no reason to tamper with the subsisting verdict of the appellate court which nullified a high court judgement that initially recognized the Appellant as the candidate of the APC for the senatorial district.

Consequently, the apex court panel, led by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal on the matter.

It will be recalled that Justice Hamman Barka of the appellate court had declared Jimkuta as senatorial candidate of the party after he confirmed that it was the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC that conducted the primary election that produced him.

The court stressed that only the NWC of a political party that has the powers, rights and the vires to conduct a valid primary election for the purpose of nominating a candidate for an election.

It noted that evidence before it, established that Mr. Jimkuta won the APC primary election for Taraba South, but was wrongfully substituted by his party with Shiddi who is a member of the House of Representatives.

Jimkuta had in the wake of the substitution of his name, approached the Federal High Court in Jalingo, Taraba state, to reclaim his ticket.

He told the court that he won the party’s primary election with 170 votes as against 70 votes that was polled by Shiddi.

He persuaded the court to declare him the winner of the primary and also restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from recognizing Shiddi, who came second, as the APC senatorial candidate for Taraba South.

Meanwhile, reacting to the judgment of the apex court on Friday, Jimkuta, dedicated his legal victory to God, even as he thanked the Judiciary for intervening in his case.

He maintained that his victory would not only reinforce the believe that the Judiciary is the last hope of the common man, but also encourage youths, not only in Taraba state, but in the entire country to go into partisan politics.

“It is a victory for democracy, the people of Taraba South and the entire APC family”, he added.

While imploring his opponent to join hands with him and work towards taking Taraba State to the next level, Jimkuta assured his constituents that he would live up to their expectations.

Similarly, his lawyer, Mr Johnson Usman, SAN, said his client’s victory, both at the court and on the ballot, established him as the true choice of the people of Taraba South.

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