Supreme Court affirms Marama Abba as PDP House of Assembly candidate

The Supreme Court has affirmed Marama Abba of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the validly elected candidate for the Borno House of Assembly, to represent the Hawul State Constituency in Saturday’s election.

The five-member panel headed by Justice John Okoro, in a judgment, held that Abba’s appeal was meritorious and deserved to be allowed.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Abba, had appealed the Appellate court’s judgment which declared Ado Haruna the valid candidate for the house of assembly constituency election.

While Haruna was the 1st respondent, PDP and INEC were 2nd and 3rd respondents respectively in the suit marked: SC/CV/73/2023.

Haruna had approached a Federal High Court (FHC) in Maiduguri to seek an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept and publish his name as the PDP candidate sent by the party to it, following Abba’s voluntary withdrawal from the race.

In the originating summons, Haruna sued the PDP and INEC but the trial court dismissed the case.

Dissatisfied with the judgment, Haruna appealed the matter at Appeal Court in Abuja where he was declared the valid PDP candidate representing Hawul State Constituency on Dec. 29, 2022.

However, Abba, in an appeal filed by his counsel, Johnson Usman, SAN, at the apex court, denied withdrawing his candidature at any time.

Usman prayed the court to hold that the purported letter of withdrawal allegedly signed by Abba was invalid.

He said Abba was the candidate who won the PDP House of Assembly primary election conducted on May 22, 2022 and had not withdrawn his candidacy.

The senior lawyer argued that Abba was not joined as a party in the suit filed before the FHC Maiduguri by Haruna.

He said failure to join him was a violation of his right to a fair hearing and urged the court to declare that he never withdrew his candidacy from the election.

Delivering the judgment on Feb. 27, Justice Okoro, who agreed with Usman’s submission, affirmed Abba as the rightful candidate for the March 18 House of Assembly poll in the constituency.

The court held that since Abba was a necessary party who ought to be joined to the suit originally but was not joined, his right to a fair hearing was breached.

The court held that the judgment of the Court of Appeal was obtained by fraud, misrepresentation and concealment of facts.

It further held that there was no evidence that Abbas withdrew his candidacy and set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

The apex court also awarded the cost of N5 million against the 1st respondent (Haruna) in favour of Abba.

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