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Court dismisses ex-minister’s suit seeking to replace Tinubu as APC presidential candidate

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday, dismissed a suit filed by former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, seeking a replacement as the validly elected presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC).

Delivering judgment, 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.

Justice Abubakar, who upheld the arguments raised in the preliminary objections of the defence counsel, said her court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

The judge consequently dismissed the suit for being statute barred.

The ex-minister, was one of the presidential aspirants in the party’s primary conducted to elect its candidate for the 2023 presidential election.

Sen. Bola Tinubu emerged as the winner in a primary poll contested by no fewer than 26 aspirants.

Nwajuba, in an amended originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1114/2022, had sued Mr Tinubu, APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

Nwajuba is seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC from accepting the candidacy of Tinubu, who he said was nominated in breach of the law.

The ex-minister, who sought an order mandating INEC to immediately expunge Tinubu’s name from the list of candidates for the 2023 presidential election, sought an order returning him (Nwajuba) to the electoral umpire as the APC presidential candidate on the grounds that his nomination met the requirements of the provisions of Section 90(3) of the 2022 Electoral Act.

But in a preliminary objection argued by Thomas Ojo, counsel for Tinubu, and Julius Ishola, who appeared for the APC, the defendants prayed the court to dismissed the case for being statute barred.

They argued that some of the issues raised, including the issue of identity of the source of N100 million fees paid to the party by Tinubu as expression of interest and nomination form fees, among others, were pre-election matter and issues within the domestic affairs of the party.

They said the present suit constituted an abuse of court process having been determined by a sister court presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/942/22 between Incorporated Trustees of Rights for All International (RAI) and another Vs. APC and five others in a judgement delivered on Dec. 16.

NAN reports that Justice Ekwo, who said that RAI’s involvement in politically motivated cases violated its stated objectives and offended public policy, issued an order dissolving the organisation.

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