By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
Parties in the ongoing Kebbi State pre-election matter brought before Abuja division of a Federal High Court has unanimously opted to tender written argument on objections raised by first defendant’s counsel Yakubu Maikiyau (SAN) on the admissibility of documents to be tendered by the plaintiffs’ lawyer.
This was sequel to suggestion by the presiding Judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed who was of the view that the oral argument will amount to delay in proceedings.
Justice Mohammed also instructed the first plaintiff’s counsel Anthony Ani (SAN) to serve all parties with his written argument latest by Monday next week.
Earlier, Counsel to the plaintiff Anthony I. Ani (SAN) said that his client Mr. Anthony Itanyi has right to institute the matter “just like anybody” in line with electoral act.
Mr. Ani stated this while countering claims by the first defendant’s (Gov. Abubarka Atiku Bagudu) lawyer Yakubu Maikiyau (SAN) that the plaintiff has no right of action in the matter, noting that right of action is created in Section 131 (1) paragraph 8 of electoral act.
According to him “Information given by the first defendant (Gov. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu) in Form CF001 submitted to third defendant (Independent National Electoral Commission) is false.”
He further argued that contrary to the claim by the defense counsel that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar Bagudu’s name was not mentioned in the document presented in the court by the plaintiff, Mr. Ani stated that Gov. Bagudu’s name was not only mentioned 77 times but as a signatory to the account and also a principal associate of the companies that allegedly laundered money for the late Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha.
Meanwhile, the matter has been adjourned to February 27, 2018 for the continuation of the case.
It would be recalled that the plaintiff in the matter Mr. Anthony Itanyi is claiming that Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) committed perjury by lying under oath in the form he submitted to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) prior to 2015 governorship election in Kebbi State.
He urged the court to invalidate the election that brought Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu to power and confirm Major General Bello Yaki (Rtd), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate in the election as the winner and subsequently orders INEC to issue him certificate of return.
Consequently, Governor Bagudu filed preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of Federal High Court to entertain the matter.
The matter was appealed to Supreme Court, the apex court later ruled that not only that the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to hear the case but also ordered for an accelerated hearing on the matter.