Musa Salihu Mubarak has been removed as the gubernatorial candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) for Kogi State in the November 11 election by a Federal High Court in Abuja. The court ruled that Mubarak’s candidacy was the result of unlawful substitution.
Justice James Kolawole Omotosho made the decision to remove Mubarak from the governorship race in Kogi. The judge found that Mubarak’s name was fraudulently submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the NNPP governorship candidate.
In the judgment delivered on Tuesday, Justice Omotosho ordered the restoration of Hon Hassan Abdullahi as the party’s flagbearer for the state. Abdullahi had lawfully won the primary election of the party, which took place on April 16, 2023, in Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State.
According to Justice Omotosho’s findings, Abdullahi received 303 votes, emerging as the winner of the nomination election, while Mubarak came in second with only 10 votes during the April 16 Kogi State governorship primary election.
The court held that the submission of Mubarak’s name instead of Abdullahi’s was a clear case of injustice and fraudulent conduct that should not be allowed to stand. Justice Omotosho stated that the submission of Mubarak’s name, despite his low vote count, to INEC and its subsequent publication was illegal, null, and void.
The judge found that Abdullahi’s name was submitted to INEC along with Mubarak’s on April 28, while Mubarak’s name was fraudulently recognized. Since Abdullahi won the primary election as evidenced by the INEC monitoring report and the submitted names, the court held that only death or voluntary withdrawal could remove his name from the published list of gubernatorial candidates.
Invoking Section 84 of the Electoral Act 2022, the court declared the submission, recognition, and publication of Mubarak’s name as the NNPP governorship candidate for Kogi as unlawful acts. The court ordered the immediate publication of the plaintiff’s name and issued a perpetual injunction against NNPP, INEC, and their agents to prevent them from denying the plaintiff the benefits of his success in the NNPP primary election.
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