The Court of Appeal in Sokoto has reinstated Dauda Lawal as the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for Zamfara state.
The appellate court, in its ruling on Friday, set aside the judgment of the federal high court in Gusau, which had earlier disqualified Lawal-Dare.
On May 26, Lawal was elected after he polled 431 votes to defeat Ibrahim Shehu, who came second with five votes, and Wadatau Madawaki, who placed third with three votes.
In June, Madawaki, Shehu, and Aliyu Muhammad, another candidate, filed a suit challenging the legality of the primary.
They requested that the exercise be annulled due to alleged anomalies, contradictions, fraud, and violation of the electoral act and the party’s constitution, among other issues.
On September 16, a federal high court in Gusau nullified the election and ordered a rerun.
Lawal won the rerun, polling 422 votes to beat his two opponents — Ibrahim Shehu and Hafiz Nahuche — who scored one vote each.
Dissatisfied, Shehu and other aspirants again approached the court, noting that PDP violated electoral guidelines.
On November 8, the court nullified the rerun and barred the party from fielding any candidate for the 2023 governorship election.
Consequently, the PDP approached the appeal court to seek redress.
In a previous judgment delivered on November 23, the court of appeal held that the appeal filed by the PDP was academic since it had already complied with the high court’s ruling which ordered a fresh primary poll.
In the recent appeal, however, a three-man panel of the appeal court ordered the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) to accept Lawal-Dare as the elected governorship candidate of the PDP in Zamfara.
The panel said it was inconceivable for the federal high court judge to refuse to accept the INEC report of the primaries despite being a public document and published on the commission’s website.
The panel also added that the appellant was not properly joined by the plaintiffs.
Furthermore, the panel held that the federal high court was wrong to have granted a relief not sought by the plaintiff, adding that “the court is not Father Christmas”.