Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1147/2019 Femi Joseph v Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and two others are suits climbing through the Federal High Court. The other two defendants are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the candidate of the PDP in Saturday’s Kogi State governorship polls, Engr. Musa Wada.
This suit was instituted by way of an Originating Summons at the Federal High Court, Abuja on 27th September 2019, shortly after the publication of Forms CF001 (Particulars of persons seeking election to the office) of all candidates in the Kogi Guber by INEC.
The Claimant by virtue of Section 31(5) & (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) claims he reasonably believes that the information supplied by the PDP Candidate, Musa Atayi Wada in both his Form CF001 and the attached First School Leaving Certificate as to his primary school education were false.
He, therefore, prayed the court to determine that the information was indeed false and, on that basis, disqualify the Plaintiff from contesting as the candidate of the PDP in the upcoming November 16th, 2019 gubernatorial elections. While the PDP as a Party has responded to the said suit, Engr. Musa Wada is yet to debunk the claims.
We had a panel of lawyers review the case filed by the Plaintiff, the defence by the PDP and all old and new documents in support. There is no doubt about it, the Plaintiff’s case and the available proof is certainly strong. Like we said earlier, it is now a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’ Wada and the PDP will be disqualified.
In interpreting the laws on this matter, the Supreme Court has certainly set a precedent of intolerance with aspirants who forge documents to contest elections. In the case of Engr. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja vs Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam (SC. 758/2016) NGSC 17 (2 JUNE 2017) (SC. 758/2016)  NGSC 1 (01 JUNE 2017), the apex court spoke directly to the situation at hand in Kogi:
‘The intention of the Constitution is that anyone who has presented a forged certificate to INEC should stand automatically disqualified. No decent system or polity should condone, or through judicial policy and decisions, encourage the dangerous culture of forging certificates with impunity to seek electoral contest.’
The case will come up again on the 20th day of November 2019. The PDP and Engr. Musa Wada faces disqualification no matter how the election goes on the 16th. This means that both the party and her candidate will still face hurdles even after the elections.
Their right to even challenge the outcome at the tribunal is now riding on the outcome of this case which claims they ought not to have participated in the election in the first place.
Saturday, November 16 is a certainty. The same cannot be said of the labours of the PDP and her supporters. They will be troubled by the uncertainties flowing from their flag-bearer’s conduct for a long time to come.