Supreme Court rejects suit seeking Bulkachuwa’s sack

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The Supreme Court has rejected a suit seeking to sack Adamu Bulkachuwa, husband of the Court of Appeal’s President, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa.

In a judgment Monday, a five-man panel of the apex court dismissed the appeal by Usman Tuggar, who challenged Bulkachuwa’s election as senator for Bauchi North on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Justice John Okoro, in the lead judgment, dismissed Tuggar’s appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, delivered on June 11.

The Appeal Court had upheld an earlier judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to the effect that the suit was statute-barred, having been filed outside the 14 days allowed by the Constitution.

Tuggar, who said he won the APC primary in Bauchi North Senatorial District with 54,000 votes, had filed the suit at the Federal High Court and accused some leaders of the party of fraudulently sending Bulkachuwa’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party’s candidate.

Tuggar prayed the court to, among others, void his party’s decision and declare that he was the valid winner of the APC primary and that he ought to have his name forwarded to INEC as the party’s authentic candidate for Bauchi North Senatorial District in the last general elections.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, who delivered the Federal High Court’s judgment on April 18, upheld Bulkachuwa’s preliminary objection and dismissed the suit on the grounds that it was statute-barred.

The judge held that the suit, being on a pre-election matter, was not filed within the 14 days prescribed by the Constitution.

He held that the suit was filed over 14 days after the primary had been conducted.

Tuggar appealed the decision at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, arguing that the trial court misunderstood his grievances because he did not challenge the outcome of the primary, which he claimed to have won.

The Bauchi politician claimed that Bulkacuwa’s name sent to INEC instead of his was wrong.

He argued that he filed his suit within time and prayed the Court of Appeal to reverse the decision of the Federal High Court and sack Bulkachuwa.

But the appellate court rejected his requests in its judgment on June 11.

When his appeal was called Monday at the Supreme Court, Justice Okoro, who led the court’s five-man panel, averred that the cause of action arose earlier than the appellant claimed.

He noted that by a letter written to the party’s leadership, in which the appellant complained that Bulkachuwa had been chosen as the winner of the primary, Tuggar was aggrieved before latter event, which was the party’s submission of Bulkachuwa’s name to INEC as APC’s candidate.

The judge said as against the appellant’s contention, the cause of action arose before the day Bukachuwa’s name was submitted to INEC.

On realising the thinking of the court, Tuggar’s lawyer, Chupwkwu Okafor, applied to withdraw the appeal, following which Justice Okoro dismissed the appeal without awarding a cost against any party.

Other members of the panel, Justices Amiru Sanusi, Ejembi Eko, Amina Augie and Uwani Abba-Aji, agreed with Justice Okoro’s position in the lead decision.

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