By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah,
On the 12th of March 2020, the local government election Petition tribunal sitting in Minna, nullified the election of Hon. Hussaini Ladan of the All Progressive Congress (APC ) as council chairman of Suleja.
Subsequently, the court had ordered that Adamu A. Usman of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP be immediately issued a certificate of return and inaugurated.
In their judgment, the three Tribunal Judges said, “on the whole we agree with the petitioners that at the time of the Chairmanship election of Suleja local Government the 1st respondent had no recognizable vice Chairman. The violation of the section 33 & 36 of the electoral act 2010(as amended and paragraph 3(m) of the NSIEC guidelines for 2019 local government election by the 2nd respondent has vitiated the nomination of the Chairman Hon. Zakari Isah as held in PDP & Others V Biobarakuma Degi-Ermienyo & Ors (Supra) and we so hold.”
They therefore ordered the return of Adamu Usman of PDP as winner of the 30th November, 2019 Suleja Local Government Chairmanship election.
Also the Tribunal ordered the State Independent Electoral Commission to issue Adamu Usman with a Certificate of Return.
The Tribunal’s Judgment was appealed in two different suits and all were dismissed on the 24th April, and 15th June, all in 2020.
All local government election matters terminates at the appeal panel.
Since then, The Niger State Independent Electoral Commission (NSIEC) has continue to play hide and seek, refusing to issue Adamu Usman (Banaga) of PDP with a certificate of return.
The NSIEC Chairman, Aminu Baba Alhaji said “Please come to the commission and meet the secretary, he will give you whatever information you want.”
Secretary to the Commission Habibu Bobbi promised to call back, until time of going to press he didn’t call back and answer his calls.
In her reaction, spokesperson to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State, Mary Noel Berje said “As far as I am concerned it’s a party affairs.”
It will be recalled that a pre-election suit in the case of Magama LGA Chairmanship won by the PDP candidate suffered similar fate, until a high court had to order NSIEC officials to be committed to Prison if they fail to issue the winner a certificate of return, 4 months after, before the court order was obeyed. At a point the local Government was without a council chairman for weeks.