A Federal High Court Sitting in Jalingo, Taraba state capital has ordered the disqualification of the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, in Taraba state, Sani Danladi over age falsification.
The development comes three days to the governorship election.
The court under the jurisdiction of Justice Stephen Pam, gave the order in respect to a case filed by Usman Udi, Joshua Paaku, George Geoffrey and Tanko Muslim Munkaila on 9th January 2019 with case code Suit No. FHC/JAL/CS/1/2019, against Abubakar Sani Danladi, the All Progressive Congress, (APC), and the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC).
The court in its ruling ordered that “the first defendant, Sani Abubakar Danladi is prohibited from parading himself as the candidate of the second defendant, APC in the governorship election for Taraba state slated for 9th March 2019 or any subsequent date to be slated.”
According to the ruling, “it is hereby declared that the information contained in the affidavit of the 1st defendant, Abubakar Sani Danladi supporting his personal particulars that he was born on 14th February, 1968 is in conflict with his date of birth contained in the West African Senior School Certificate submitted by him to the third defendant, INEC, which indicates that the 1st defendant was born on 3rd April 1977.” That the information given by the 1st defendant as to his age in the affidavit in support of his personal particulars in the INEC Form CF001 submitted to the 3rd defendant, INEC by him is hereby declared false and hereby disqualified from contesting election as the candidate of the 2nd defendant, APC in the governorship election for Taraba state.”
In a swift reaction, the APC in the state said the judgment was meant to demoralise its supporters ahead of the polls.
Responding through a statement by its state publicity secretary, Aaron Artimas, the party described the judgment as “mischievous and comical.”
It said the case was filed by “some unknown persons parading as concerned citizens, who raised the issue of a purported improper declaration of age by Sani Danladi.
“The so-called concerned citizens claimed that there were discrepancies in the declaration of age as contained in Sani Danladi’s SSCE and his statutory declaration of age in the year 2000.
“However, we wish our teeming supporters to note that this issue had been taken to court in the year 2007 and was subsequently dismissed by the Appeal Court. It should also be noted that all judgments passed by the Appeal Court supersede those of the lower courts in the whole country.
“There also legal process involved in the substitution of candidates by INEC and therefore a court judgment does not automatically translate to disqualification to contest an election.
“By this explanation, we are calling on all law-abiding citizens and APC members throughout the state to remain calm and discountenance or disregard any issue or rumour regarding the eligibility of His Excellency to contest Saturday’s Gubernatorial Elections.
“Legal steps have already commenced to set aside this mischievous judgment which we view as another desperate attempt by agents of the PDP and the state government to escape defeat on Saturday.
“All APC members are hereby called upon to continue with their campaigns and preparations towards the elections. All our agents are also hereby directed to ensure that they dutifully accompany all sensitive materials and to ensure their distributions to all designated voting areas,” Artimas said.