2023: Again, court dismisses ex-minister’s suit against Tinubu’s nomination

An application by former minister of state for education Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba to invalidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s selection as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for president in the 2019 election was dismissed by the Federal High Court in Abuja. Justice Zainab Abubakar ruled on Friday that because the lawsuit was submitted after the 14-day period provided by Section 285(9) of the Constitution, her court lacked the power to hear it.

The ruling relates to the lawsuit with the file number FHC/ABJ/CS/1114/2022 and defendants Tinubu, the APC, and INEC. As a pre-election matter, the lawsuit must be filed within 14 days after the incident giving rise to the plaintiff’s complaints, according to Justice Abubakar.

She observed that Tinubu purchased the expression of interest and nomination forms on April 29, he emerged as APC candidate at its congress held between June 6 and 7, and INEC published his name on June 17.

The judge said: “I have no hesitation in holding that this suit, as constituted against all the defendants, is statute barred by virtue of the provision of Section 285(9) of the Constitution, which means the right of the plaintiff to institute this action has been extinguished by the operation of the law. This invariably robbed this court of the jurisdiction to entertain this suit,” the judge held and proceeded to dismiss the suit. Nwajiuba had sued pursuant to Section 90(3) of the Electoral Act 2022, claiming that Tinubu did not identify the source of the N100miion he used to purchase the expression of interest and nomination forms.

He also alleged that Tinubu submitted false information to INEC. This is the second time the Federal High Court would be dismissing Nwajiuba ‘s suit against Tinubu’s nomination. In a judgment on December 15, Justice Inyang Ekwo (also of the Federal High Court in Abuja) dismissed a the suit marked: FHC/ ABJ/CS/942/ 2022 filed by Nwajiuba and a group, Rights for All International (RAI) seeking to void the nomination of Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar as presidential candidates of the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

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