THE Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has dismissed a suit the immediate past Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, filed to stop the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, from contesting the 2023 presidential election.
Delivering judgment on Friday, December 23, Justice Zainab Abubakar held that the suit was statute-barred, having been filed outside the 14 days period prescribed by Section 285(9) of the 1999 Constitution.
Nwajiuba, a chieftain of the APC and one of the presidential aspirants in the party’s primary conducted to elect its candidate for the 2023 presidential election, failed to show up during the election.
In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1114/2022, which is now dismissed, Nwajiuba prayed the court to nullify the nomination of Tinubu as flag-bearer of the party for the impending election.
He contended that the primary election that produced Tinubu was not only marred by manifest irregularities, but was conducted in breach of both the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and the Electoral Act.
Justice Abubakar held that the suit, which was filed outside the 14 days allowed by Section 285(9) of the Constitution, had become statute-barred.
Abubakar, who upheld the arguments raised in the preliminary objections of the defence counsel, said her court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
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Consequently, she dismissed the suit and declined to grant any of the reliefs the plaintiff sought against the defendants, making it the second time the high court would dismiss Nwajiuba’s legal quest to invalidate Tinubu’s nomination.
Nwajiuba had earlier in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/942/2022, which was dismissed by trial Justice Inyang Ekwo on December 15, accused Tinubu of acting in breach of the Electoral Act.
Nwajiuba, in the suit he filed alongside a non-governmental organization under the aegis of the Incorporated Trustees of Rights for All International, alleged that the primary election that produced Tinubu was fraught with massive vote-buying, insisting that majority of the delegates were bought over with dollars.
To strengthen his allegation, the ex-Minister, who polled only one vote at the primary election held on June 8, included in his proof of evidence a video recording showing the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, decrying that delegates at the APC primary sold their votes.
He also queried Tinubu’s source of income and his educational qualifications, but all were dismissed as lacking in merit by the court.
Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.