The Court of Appeal has upheld the election of the member of the House of Representatives representing Askira-Uba/Hawul federal constituency of Borno State, Hon. Midala Balami (PDP).
The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of Justices, dismissed an appeal that was brought before it by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Tarfaya Asarya.
The court held that it found no reason to set aside the judgement of the Borno State National/State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, which earlier affirmed the PDP candidate as the valid winner of the House of Representatives election held in the constituency on February 25, 2023.
The appeal panel led by Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, held that under Section 285(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Tribunal had a special jurisdiction to only determine whether anyone was validly elected or not.
It held that the scope of the jurisdiction conferred on the Tribunal by the Constitution could not be expanded to include the determination of the validity of the conduct of primary election or nomination of candidates by political parties.
With this ruling, the Appeal Court has laid to rest the issue of pre-election matter of primary election by political parties, which some Election Tribunals have been using to sack elected lawmakers.
Recall that Labour Party candidates like House of Representatives member, Amobi Oga, from Abia State and other two Reps members from the same State were recently sacked by the Tribunal over pre-election matters. Also, the PDP especially in Imo State where Justice Anthony Akpovi-led National/State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal used the issue of venue of PDP primary election to sack numerous PDP candidates and winners especially the case of Ideato North and South Federal Constituency won by Ikeagwuonu Onyinye Ugochinyere (Ikenga) of PDP which are all currently at the Appeal Court.
Another instance is the ruling by Justice Akpovi-led panel, which used the same pre-election issue to strike out the case of the PDP candidate for Ideato North State constituency seat election, Barr. Kanayo Nwankwo.