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2019 Presidential Election: Group asks court to disqualify Buhari

..seeks order to stop INEC from including his name in ballot papers
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – A non governmental organization under the eagis of Kingdom Human Rights Foundation International, on Monday, approached the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court for an order of perpetual injunction to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from including President Muhammadu Buhari’s name in the 2019 presidential ballot paper.

The group, in its suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1228/2018, contended that President Buhari was not validly nominated by the All Progressives Congress, APC, in accordance with provisions of the Section 91 (9) of the Electoral Act.

President Muhammadu Buhari displaying the APC 2019 Presidential Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms during the official handover of the forms by members of the Nigeria Consolidation Ambassador Network at a colourful ceremony at the State House Banquet hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida 11/09/2018

While President Buhari was cited as the 1st Defendant in the matter, office of the President, the Attorney General of the Federation, the APC and INEC were sued as 2nd to 4th Defendants.

Specifically, the Plaintiff, through its lawyer, Mr. Okere Nnamdi, urged the court determine “Whether having regard to the express provisions of Section 91 (9) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) the expression of interest and nomination forms, purchased by a group named Nigerian Consolidation Ambassadors Network and donated to the 1st Defendant, and which the 1st defendant accepted, completed and submitted to the 4th Defendant, the grounds upon which the 1st Defendant became the sole President candidate of the 4th Defendant at the 6th October 2018 National Convention for election of Presidential candidate is invalid, unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effects whatsoever.

“Whether having regard to the clear provisions, spirit and tenor of section 91 (9) of the Electoral Act 2010, the nomination, selection and submission of the 1st Defendant’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the Presidential Candidate of the 4th defendant for the 2019 Presidential Election is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

“Whether in view of questions 1 and 2 determined above, the 4th Defendant has a validly nominated Presidential Candidate for the 2019 Presidential Election”.

Upon determination of the legal questions, the Plaintiff, prayed the court for the following reliefs;

“A declaration that having regard to the express provisions of Section 91 (9) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the expression of interest and nomination forms, purchased by a group named Nigerian Consolidation Ambassadors Network and donated to the 1st Defendant, and which the 1st defendant accepted, completed and submitted to the 4th Defendant, the grounds upon which the 1st Defendant became the sole President candidate of the 4th Defendant at the 6th and 7th October 2018 National Convention for election of Presidential candidate is invalid, unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effects whatsoever.

“A declaration that having regard to the clear provisions, spirit and tenor of section 91 (9) of the Electoral Act 2010, the nomination, selection and submission of the 1st Defendant’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the Presidential Candidate of the 4th defendant for the 2019 Presidential Election is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

“A declaration that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has no legally and validly nominated presidential candidate for the 2019 Presidential ELECTION, having regard to the clear provisions, spirit and tenor of section 91 (9) of the Electoral Act 2010,

As well as, “AN order of perpetual injunction restraining the 5th defendant (Independent National Electoral Commission) from recognizing, accepting and listing the 1st defendant’s name in the 2019 presidential ballot paper on the grounds that the 1st defendant’s nomination breached the clear provisions of the Section 91 (9) of the Electoral Act”.

In an affidavit that was attached in support of the Originating Summons, the Plaintiff, told the court that President Buhari had on September 10, accepted the presidential nomination and expression of interest forms of the All Progressives Congress from a group, Nigerian Consolidation Ambassadors Network, which donated the forms worth N45m to him to support his bid for re-election.

“That the pro-Buhari group, Nigeria Consolidation Ambassadors Network, had on September 5, while Muhammadu Buhari was attending the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit in Beijing, China, purchased the N45m worth of forms for the 1st defendant who is also the person occupying the office of the 2nd defendant.

“The 1st Defendant who is currently occupying the office of the 2nd defendant claims to be fighting corruption, and the N45m worth of forms may have been purchased with proceeds of corruption by the so called youths.

“That Speaking while presenting the dummy check to the APC Chairman, National Coordinator of the Group, Sunusi Musa said the group which was formed in 2017 to propagate the second term bid of the President decided to pull resources together to purchase the nomination form for the President. He said they were aware that the President was not a millionaire, but has millions of supporters across the countries who are angling for him to continue in office.

“That the National Coordinator of the Group stated “We believe in the leadership of President Buhari; we can count on him to consolidate the good work he has started for another four more years. It is for this reason Mr. Chairman we have decided to “pull our meagre resources together and purchase the expression of interest and nomination form for President Buhari as he present himself to our party members to be chosen as its candidate for the 2019 general election.’’

“Our members from the various villages, local governments and states have contributed to making this happen. We know President Buhari is not a multi-millionaire cash wise, but he has millions of supporters who are always ready to come together to pay for his nomination form.”

“That the forms were presented to the President by representatives of the group, comprising the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Farouk Adamu Aliyu; the Deputy Chairman of the BoT, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; the National Coordinator of the group, Sunusi Musa; the six zonal coordinators, and three special representatives.

“That the 1st defendant Buhari Muhammadu received the forms from the group at 12pm on Tuesday 10th September with some of his top aides, including the Minister of Transportation and Director-General of the President’s campaign organisation, Rotimi Amaechi, in attendance.

“That in his acceptance speech, the 1st defendant stated partly ‘”I am honoured today to receive this nomination form which your members, from all over the country, contributed to buy. It is a gesture from an association of patriotic Nigerians, which I was made to believe comprises over three million members that believe in our principle of bringing the desired positive CHANGE in Nigeria.

“Since my protest at the APC secretariat a few weeks back on the very expensive cost of the presidential nomination form, I have received many offers from different associations and organisations whose members were ready to pool their resources to buy me the form.’’ “the 12 million members of the Rice Farmers Association offered to buy me a form. The members of the Fertiliser Producers Association also contacted my office with the same offer.

“Some members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association also offered to buy the nomination form. I can go on and on. “I am very touched by these gestures. And I want to assure you all that my commitment to our CHANGE agenda is as strong as ever. “As I accept this nomination from NCAN today, I want to ask all the other groups who have offered to buy my nomination form to redirect their contributions to the Not Too Young To Run wing of the APC.

“Nigeria is blessed with many talented and visionary youths who have a lot to contribute. Many of them may not be able to afford the nomination fees set by our party. Your contributions will go a long way in supporting the next generation of leaders’’.

“That the 1st defendant on the 12th of September 2018 submitted the illegally purchased presidential nomination form to the National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress.

“That relying on the illegally purchased nomination form, the All Progressives Congress on the 6th and 7th of October 2018 held a National Convention in Abuja where the 1st defendant emerged consensus Presidential candidate of the party.

“That by virtue of section 91 (9) of the Electoral Act no individual or other entity shall donate more than one million naira (1,000.000) to any candidate.

“That the Supreme Court of Nigeria has defined election in many cases as a process that begins with nomination and selection of candidate for election by political parties.

“That by virtue of section 91 (9) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) the expression of interest and nomination forms, purchased by a group named Nigerian Consolidation Ambassadors Network and donated to the 1st Defendant, and which the 1st defendant accepted, completed and submitted to the 4th Defendant, the grounds upon which the 1st Defendant became the sole President candidate of the 4th Defendant candidate at the 6th and 7th October 2018 National Convention for election of Presidential candidate is invalid, unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effects whatsoever.

“That having regard to the clear provisions, spirit and tenor of section 91 (9) of the Electoral Act 2010, the nomination, selection and submission of the 1st Defendant’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the Presidential Candidate of the 4th defendant for the 2019 Presidential Election is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

“That the All Progressives Congress (APC) has no legally and validly nominated presidential candidate for the 2019 Presidential ELECTION, having regard to the clear provisions, spirit and tenor of section 91 (9) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended)”, the Plaintiff further averred.

Meantime, the suit is yet to be assigned to any judge for hearing.

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