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Court Dismisses PDP Suit Seeking Disqualification Of Gov Matawalle, Others

On Monday , at the Federal High Court, Abuja,  dismissed a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s suit seeking the disqualification of Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara and other All Progressives Congress (APC)’s candidates in the forthcoming general elections. Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, dismissed the suit on the ground that it was incompetent and constituted an abuse of court process.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the PDP had, in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1622/2022, sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, Matawalle and his deputy, Mohammed Gusau Hassan as 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

The party also sued all the senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly candidates in the state. Former governor Abdulaziz Yari, who is vying for the senatorial seat and ex-lawmaker, Kabir Marafa were joined as 5th and 7th defendants, among other 38th defendants listed in the originating summons. The PDP, in the motion, asked the court to determine whether the APC, which adopted the indirect mode of primaries for the selection and nomination of its choice of candidates shall democratically elect delegates to vote at its convention, congress, conference or meeting convened to nominate candidates for elections into any elective office. It also sought an order of injunction restraining INEC from according recognition to APC and all its candidates in the Feb. 25 and March 11 polls, among others.

Delivering judgment, Justice Ekwo upheld all the preliminary objections raised by APC and its candidates.

The judge agreed with the defence that the provision of Section 285 (14) (c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which the PDP relied on as giving them the locus standi (legal right) in the case did not avail them. According to him, this means there is no iota of law which supports this action.

Justice Ekwo said he had also found that the plaintiff was not an aspirant in the APC primaries by virtue of Section 84(14) and 152 of the Electoral Act, 2022. The judge, who held that no law supported the filing of the case, said he found that the suit constituted an abuse of court process.

He also agreed with the defence that the suit was statue barred, having been filed outside the 14 days of the cause of action as prescribed the law. Justice Ekwo, consequently, dismissed the suit.

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