The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since its formation on August 1998 has made its mark in Nigeria’s political system, considering that the party has ruled at the topmost elected post, The Presidency, for 16 years.
PDP’s hold on to power has been strengthened by Nigeria’s court system, especially the Supreme court whose judgment at times, usually favour the party’s hold on to political power.
While combing through court judgments, here are cases where the justices of the apex court has given controversial rulings which have continued to be in favour of the PDP.
Obasanjo’s Re-election in 2003
In 2003, when Obasanjo sought re-election as Nigeria’s President, the poll was evidently fraught with irregularities and rigging, making the election adjudged as one of the worst election in Nigeria’s history.
The 2003 general election was reportedly rigge to an extent where the INEC Chirman at that period, Prof. Maurice Iwu, was announcing state election results which was still being collated or had not yet been presented to him.
General Muhammadu Buhari, who was the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) presidential candidate at that period challenge the election results while citing cases of electoral fraud and pushed for an annulment of the presidential election.
The case dragged on for 2 years, till the Supreme Court on July 2005 gave its final verdict upholding the election.
Then, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Muhammadu Uwais, while giving his ruling on the case, was quoted saying: “I have come to the conclusion that the election was conducted substantially in compliance with provisions of the Electoral Act.”
Yar’adua’s Election in 2007
The electoral fraud that characterized 2003 general election was also witnessed massively in 2007, with Iwu still serving as the INEC chairman.
2007 presidential election that brought in Late Umaru Musa Yar’adua was also marred by vote-rigging which Buhari, who contested under same ANPP and Atiku Abubakar, who contested under the defunct Action Congress (AC) challenged its outcome in separate petitions filed in court.
Yar’Adua had also at different times consistently conceded that the ballot fell below acceptable electoral standards but in December 2008, the apex court upheld the election victory.
Buhari and Atiku had approached the Supreme Court to nullify the appeal court judgment but in separate ruling by the seven-man panel, it voted 4/3 and 6/1 respectively on the two appeals, before dismissing the case.
Rivers PDP Primary Election in 2007
In 2007, there was controversy surrounding the PDP’s primary election in Rivers. The governorship primaries was held between Celestine Omehia and Rotimi Amaechi, which Amaechi obviously won against Omehia.
The primaries became a joke when Amaechi’s name was substituted with Omehia in the form submitted to INEC by the party which led to a very tough legal battle in the state.
While the case was still in court, PDP won the governorship election in the state, and Omehia was sworn in as governor but did not serve for long.
In October 2007, the Supreme Court justices, led by then CJN, Idris Kutigi, ruled that Amaechi was the bona fide governorship candidate of the PDP in Rivers State and should be sworn in immediately, since his party won the election.
The judgment by the apex court did not specify that a fresh polls should be conducted but upheld that the candidates for the party should be changed, still consolidating PDP’s hold on to power in the state.
Upheld Nullification of APC Rivers Primary Election
The APC put itself at a disadvantage when it conducted primaries for the 2019 general election in an illegal way which was declared illegal by various court hierarchy with one of them ruling that the party should be excluded by INEC by from the list of parties that will participate in election in the state.
Various suits have been filed by the factions of the APC in the state to nullify the court ruling before the Supreme Court ruled on the case, last month.
A seven-man panel of judges of the apex court led by acting CJN, Justice Ibrahim Mohammed, struck out the appeals of the two factions which gave the PDP an upper hand in the state.
It laid to rest the permutations by APC that the court will upturn the judgment and there will be a call for a new polls to go against Governor Wike who had already won the 2019 governorship election in the state by a landslide.
Nullifying APC Zamfara State Primaries for 2019 general election
One of the APC state embroiled in state primaries crisis was given a run for its money when the Supreme Court held that the party failed to conduct state primaries in accordance with the party rules.
What made the judgment more historic is that the APC swept all the elected posts in the 2019 general election held in the state.
The five-man panel led by same acting CJN declared the first runners-up in the 2019 general elections in the state as the winners of all the posts earlier declared to have been won by the APC and its candidate.
This judgment means that the PDP will take over the state, especially the government house when Governor Abdulaziz Yari vacates office on May 29.
Let us know your thoughts about these Supreme Court judgments in the comment section.