Tuggar vs Bulkachuwa: Moral Burden for Justice Zainab.

The October 2018 primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bauchi State has been riddled with legal tussle, as two aspirants lay claims to the senatorial ticket for Bauchi North.

A chieftain of the party, Usman Abubakar Tuggar is insisting on being the winner of the party’s primary elections held on October 3, 2018 as against Adamu Muhammed Bulkachuwa, whose name was forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party’s candidate.

Bulkachuwa, who is the spouse of Court of Appeal President, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, eventually won the February 23, election.

Nevertheless, the legal battle continues. Tuggar in a suit he filed before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, prayed the court to among others, order the INEC to accept his name as APC’s actual candidate for Bauchi North, in place of Bulkachuwa.

According to the suit, marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/1240/2018 filed by a team of lawyers, including Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) and Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Tuggar stated, in a supporting affidavit, that after the primary, monitored by INEC officials, he won in six out of the seven local government areas that made up the Senatorial District and got a total of 71,308 votes, while Bulkachuwa came second.

Tuggar, who exhibited copies of the primary elections’ results sheets to support his claim, said he was taken aback when leaders of the APC elected to send Bulkachuwa’s name to INEC as the party’s candidate instead of his name, having won the primary and his victory acknowledged by INEC’s officials who were present.

The plaintiff stated that, on realising that Bulkacchuwa’s name was wrongly sent to INEC, he protested and wrote to the party’s National Chairman and other leaders, who, he said, failed to act to rectify the error, a development that informed his decision to approach the court for redress.

Tuggar however prayed the court to declare that, having been duly nominated by the defendant (APC) by virtue of the primary election held on October 3, 2018 and having been confirmed as validly nominated pursuant to the summary of candidates nominated at the primary, as produced by INEC’s representatives who witnessed the primary, the 3rd defendant (INEC) was bound to recognise him as APC’s “true and validly nominated candidate.”

He wants the court to set aside the purported submission of the name of the 1st defendant (Bulkachuwa) to INEC by the APC as its candidate and order the electoral body to expunge Bulkachuwa’s name from its record and replace it with his (the plaintiff’s) having won the primary and his victory confirmed by INEC’s representatives in their “summary of candidates nominated at the primaries.”

Tuggar is also praying the court to restrain Bulkachuwa from further parading himself as APC’s candidate; restrain INEC from further recognising Bulkachuwa as the party’s candidate, and to direct the electoral body to recognise him as APC’s true candidate for the Bauchi North Senatorial District seat.

However, in a counter-argument, Bulkachuwa denied Tuggar’s claims, particularly in relation to the outcome of the primary elections and his choice as the party’s candidate for the seat. Bulkachuwa said, in a counter affidavit, that he came first in the primary elections with 56,784 votes.

He added: “Upon the submission of the report of the Bauchi State Electoral Committee of the 2nd defendant (APC) to its National Working Committee (NWC), the 2nd defendant’s NWC, at its meeting of 31th October, 2018, after a deliberation and consideration of the report of the Bauchi State Legislative Primary Election Committee, duly and unanimously reaffirmed my victory at the said election.

“Having emerged winner in the said election, the 2nd defendant (APC) officially listed my name as its nominated candidate for the Bauchi North Senatorial District for the 2019 general elections.”

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