The Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit seeking to disqualify the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, from next year’s general election.
Justice A.R Mohammed, in a judgment delivered on December 23, struck out the suit for being a misjoinder of causes of action.
The judge further held that the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to institute the suit having not participated in the presidential primaries complained of.
The suit, filed by Menuma Suleiman and three others on July 7, 2022 as Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/ 1094/ 2022, is the eighth suit seeking to exclude Tinubu and the APC from the presidential race.
The plaintiffs listed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the APC, Tinubu, the National Assembly and the Attorney-General of the Federation/Minster of Justice as the 1st to 4th defendants.
A declaration that Section 29(5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 is ultra vires the 4th Defendant (NASS) and therefore unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.
An order striking out/striking down Section 29(5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the body of existing and extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria same being ultra vires the fourth and fifth defendants (AGF) is unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.
A declaration that the third defendant (Tinubu) has presented a forged certificate to the iNEC for the purpose of seeking to be elected into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
A declaration that the third fefendant stands disqualified from participating in the 2023 Presidential election as candidate of the second defendant (APC) having presented a forged certificate to the INEC for the purpose of seeking to be elected as President of Nigeria.
An order of disqualifying the third defendant from contesting or participating in the forthcoming 2023 presidential general election as a candidate of the second defendant.
Section 29 (5) provides:- “Any aspirant who participated in the primaries of his political party who has reasonable grounds to believe that any information given by his political party’s candidate in the affidavit or any document submitted by that candidate in relation to his constitutional requirements to contest the election is false, may file a suit at the Federal High Court against that candidate seeking a declaration that the information contained in the affidavit is false.”
In defence of the suit, the law office of Babatunde Ogala (SAN) & Co on behalf of APC filed a Counter-Affidavit in opposition to the Originating Summons and a Notice of Preliminary Objection on five grounds.
They are that the originating process is incompetent, the plaintiffs lacked locus standi, the suit discloses no cause of action, the suit is statute barred, and is an abuse of court process
When the matter came up for hearing on December 23, 2022, the APC’s counsel Julius O. Ishola of Babatunde Ogala & Co, adopted the Notice of Preliminary filed and prayed the Court to dismiss/strike out the suit for want of jurisdiction.
But the plaintiffs’ counsel opposed him and filed a written address and adopted same in praying the Court to dismiss the objections and proceed to determine the suit on its merit.
Justice Mohammed agreed with learned counsels to both the 2nd and 3rd Defendants and struck out the suit for being a misjoinder of causes of action.
The judge further held that the Plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to institute the suit having not participated in the presidential primaries complained of.
This judgment brings the number of cases that have so far been dismissed against Tinubu’s presidential candidature to eight.