Taraba: APC hopes on Supreme Court to unseat Ishaku

THE recent Appeal Court judgment, which upheld the appeal of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku of Taraba State against the initial judgment by the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, did not indicate that he has finally overcome the hurdles as the rival All Progressives Congress (APC) is not resting on its oars to pursue the matter to logical conclusion.
Surprisingly the Appeal Court judgment did not lead to upheaval in any part of the state unlike what happened after the tribunal verdict when the people took up arms against one another.
The Guardian learnt that the leadership of the APC is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the Supreme Court reverses the PDP’s victory at the appellate court.
Unlike the tribunal’s ruling that sparked off crisis in the state, which led to loss of lives and properties, there had been an atmosphere of peace and tranquility in Taraba since the Appeal Court ruling, although the security operatives have not stepped down their operations.
While the PDP is still savoring its victory, the APC according to some of its chieftains “would tread all legitimate paths to ensure that the Supreme Court reverses the decision taken by the Appeal Court on 31st of December.”
Several political observers in and outside the state have however suggested that the APC should desist from the litigation, as the party’s argument for contesting the PDP’s victory was not valid.
According to them the APC cannot continue to harp on the primaries of the PDP to argue its case, as it is not within the jurisdiction of any court to decide on the internal affairs of any political party except it is brought before it.
The APC has insisted it would not in any form be discourage by such argument as it continue to say that Governor Ishaku was not the proper governorship candidate in the election.
An inside source from the APC believes that the party still have the chances of ousting the ruling PDP from the governorship position through the Supreme Court.
According to Alhaji Danuma Isa Munga, “Our party had resolved to take the necessary steps by approaching the highest court in the country.”
Munga who was the former state Chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria {ACN} before he defected to PDP and then returned to APC said, “If other parties have decided to sleep on their rights, we in the APC will not sleep on our rights because we have enough confidence in the Supreme Court.”
He explained that the 1999 Constitution, as amended was explicit on the electoral law “it is obvious that the PDP has violated the law. The issue of party primary is not PDP affairs. Any party that violates any part of the electoral Act violates the Constitution and such party must be made to face the music.”
Munga said he is very sure that the Supreme Court ruling will favour his party and its governorship candidate, Alhassan Jumai Aisha, who is the current Minister of Women Affairs.
According to him, “Since the Electoral Act is there in the Constitution, anybody that violate the Act, violates the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are dragging PDP to the Supreme Court because the party refused to conduct primary before the governorship election and had therefore violated the constitution of the country.”
He was optimistic that the final judgment, which would emanate from the Supreme Court, would be in favour of the APC. “This will serve as a lesson for any party not to handpick anybody as its candidate for any elective position without allowing such to pass through the due process as stipulated by the Electoral Act. The lack of internal democracy in PDP forced majority of us to dump the party.”
Also affirming the party’s readiness to go to the Supreme Court, the APC chairman in the state, Alhaji Hassan Jika Ardo, told The Guardian that the Appeal Court judgment cannot see the light of the day as “what the PDP did by not conducting primary is unconstitutional.”
According to him “The Judgment of the Appeal Court cannot count. The PDP in Taraba cannot occupy that seat.”
He posited that the PDP’s action before the general election “was a constitutional matter and not discretional. It was against the constitution and the tenets of democracy.”
Corroborating Munga’s point of view, he also expressed optimism that the pendulum of the Supreme Court judgment would swing to the APC’s direction, as he held on to the fact that the issue of Electoral Act was lucidly made reference to in the constitution.
He admonished the supporters of the party to remain calm even in the face of any form of provocation “Our part would not relent on its oars pending when the Supreme Court rule on the case,” he promised.
Unlike the APC, that has continue to cry foul over the ruling, PDP on the other hand has continued to commend the Appeal Court as the governor believed that the decision of the appellate court was an indication that the judiciary was “still the last hope of the common man.”
Describing his victory as “God on the throne” the governor expressed hope that even the Apex Court would deliver its ruling in favour of him and the party. “Victory would continue to be ours,” he boasted.
Ishaku who reiterated his readiness to extend hands of friendship to members of the APC and its governorship candidate, noted that: “Despite all these detractions, we have refused to be distracted and we will never be distracted. Distraction will even spur us to do more works for our people.”
The immediate past Minister of Labour, Senator Joel Danlami Ikenya described the Appeal Court ruling as  “a judgment for the peace of Taraba State.”
He averred that the much-needed peace, which has in the past eluded the state, has come to stay following the Appeal Court ruling, stressing that the people of the state were happy with the judgment.
He said the Appeal Court judgment was in consonant with the law, and it was also in consonant with the wishes of the people of the state and the country in general.
The PDP chairman in the state, Victor Bala Kona, who was visibly elated at the ruling said, “We are happy that the Appeal Court has set aside the Kangaro judgment of the election tribunal panel.”
He dismissed the argument of the rival APC, saying: “Party primaries are mainly parties affair, which has nothing to do the with the constitution as earlier held by the APC.
“Party primary is an internal affairs of the party. Section 82 of the Electoral Act mandated the Independent National Electoral Commission {INEC} to supervised party primaries. Why should APC that did not even conduct primary in the state be the one complaining when INEC that is saddled with the responsibility did not complained?”
Despite the differences in ideologies, one thing as observed by our correspondent that was however common with the leadership of the two political parties, was that the word peace did not ceased from them as they have continued to spread the gospel of peace among their followers.

-Guardian

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