Emmanuel Bwacha: High Court Judgment Judicial Rascality – Constitutional Lawyers


Some top lawyers are berating a Federal High Court in Jalingo for upturning a judgement given by the Supreme Court on the governorship candidate tussle of the All Progressives (APC), describing it as “a travesty of jurisprudence and judicial rascality.”

The Apex Court had sacked the Taraba State APC governorship candidate, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, in a unanimous ruling on the grounds that there were no primaries.

Although the verdict did not direct APC to have a fresh primaries, the party however went ahead to conduct primaries which only had Senator Bwacha as contestant.

All the other contestants rejected the exercise.

Also, the Independent National Electoral Commission did not upload Senator Bwacha’s name on their portal.

But in its ruling a Federal High Court in Jalingo on Wednesday ordered that INEC should recognise Bwacha as candidate.

One of the lawyers who kicked against the verdict, Abdulrahman Giwa, said it amounted to upturning the judgement of the apex court by a lower court.

He said, “On March 8 2023, the Federal High Court sitting in Jalingo, delivered a judgement directing INEC to list APC and Bwacha amongst the contestants for the governorship race for Taraba State.

“This judgment was given, despite the fact that the attention of the Honourable Judge was drawn to the Supreme Court Judgment delivered in the case of DSK Vs Bwacha where the Supreme Court stated in clear terms that ONLY reliefs 1-8 of the judgment of the trial court was affirmed.

“It is inexplicable and surprising that despite the clear, and positive terms of the Judgment of the Supreme Court, the Federal High Court decided in the manner it did.”

Many constitutional lawyers have described the judgment of a Federal High Court in Jalingo as embarrassing, unfortunate, and unsupportable, citing good grounds to question the judgement on appeal.

The Supreme Court had in January 2023 in Nnamdi Ezeani Vs Jones Onyerere, voided the PDP primaries for Imo West Senatorial District.

The Apex Court said that because of the provision of Section 29 of the Electoral Act mandating political parties to forward names of their candidates to INEC not later than 180 before the date of the elections, the PDP was not going to have a candidate for Imo West Senatorial District, having been caught up by the provisions of section 29 of the Electoral Act.

A constitutional lawyer, Israel Adegbola said, “Now, in DSK Vs Bwacha, the Supreme Court nullified the APC governorship primaries in February and never ordered for any fresh primaries because APC cannot hold any valid fresh primaries that will satisfy the 180 days threshold or period before the governorship elections in March, 2023.

“No wonder, the so called fresh primaries was rightly described as a social gathering, and a sham.

“The Federal High Court Jalingo, with the greatest respect, has just ignited another legal controversy, which the Appellate Courts must have to wade in to address so as to sanitize the judicial process.”