Court strikes out Nwajuba’s suit against Tinubu’s candidacy

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Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday dismissed a suit filed by former Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajuba, against the All-Progressives Congress (APC) and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

In the Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/ 942/ 2022, Nwajuba also sued the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, Attorney General of the Federation and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Nwajuba asked the court among other things to declare that the APC and PDP presidential primary elections were not properly constituted.

He also asked the court to nullify, cancel and declare as illegal, null and void the votes scored by Tinubu and Atiku at the special national convention of the APC and PDP respectively on the grounds of corruption, buying and selling of delegates votes and voter inducement.

He therefore asked the court to return him as the duly elected/nominated presidential candidate of the APC “being that by operation of Section 90(3), he was the only candidate out of the 10 contestants who polled votes at the APC convention and whose source of the N100 million is verified and complied with the Electoral Act as contained in the print out of the names in the bank statement of over 1000 individual contributions in person.”

The former minister also requested an order of perpetual injunction restraining, barring and prohibiting INEC from accepting the candidacy of Tinubu and Atiku from the APC and the PDP as their presidential candidates for the 2023 presidential elections on the grounds that their emergence offends the provisions of the Electoral Act and their party’s constitution in the composition of the national convention; and the federal character principle enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

Babatunde Ogala counsel of the APC, however, filed objections to Nwajuba claims.

The trial judge while delivering judgment, ruled that the Motion on Notice of the plaintiff seeking to dismiss the preliminary objection of the APC that no preliminary objection can be raised to a preliminary objection, the Motion was an aberration in law and dismiss same accordingly.

Secondly, on the preliminary objection filed on behalf of the APC, the court agreed with learned counsel that the two plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to institute and maintain the action against the party. The 1st plaintiff being a Non-Governmental Organization while the 2nd plaintiff (Nwajuba) lacked the locus standi to challenge the primaries of the APC and the PDP.

On the issue of abuse of court process raised by Mr. Ogala, the judge referred to Section 823(1) and 825 (1) (b) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 to hold that the NGO Nwajuba used in suing had deviated from its objectives as a Non-Governmental Organization to seeking politically motivated litigations and thus made a consequential order dissolving it effective immediately.

The court ruled that the Registrar General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) should take over the activities of the NGO.

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