By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
An Abuja-based legal practitioner, Mr. Osigwe Momoh, has instituted an action against the All Progressives Congress, APC, at the Federal High Court in Abuja, insisting that its decision to field its Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates from the same religion for the 2023 election, was in breach of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Consequently, the Plaintiff, is praying the court to invalidate the candidacy of APC’s Presidential flag-bearer, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and that of his running mate, Kashim Shettima, both of them, being of the Muslim faith.
He further applied for an order of perpetual injunction to restrain the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, from accepting, recognising or publishing their names as bonafide candidates for the impending presidential election.
Cited as 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants, respectively, in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1188/2022, are the APC, Tinubu and INEC.
Momoh, claimed that APC’s decision to pick Tinubu and his running mate, Shettima, from the same religion, was in gross violation of the principle and the spirit of the Nigerian constitution.
He argued that political parties must, by virtue of Chapter Two of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), have their Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates from different sections (tribal and religious groups) of the nation.
The Plaintiff, is among other things, seeking a declaration that, “by virtue of Sections 14 (1) and (3), 15 and 224(a) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the defendants are bound by the principles of Chapter II of the 1999 constitution (as amended) and having the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the same religion is unconstitutional and null and void.
“That all Political Parties must, by virtue of chapter two of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), have their presidential and vice presidential candidates from different sectional (tribal and religious) groups of the nation”.
As well as, “An order nullifying the candidacy of the APC, Tinubu (1st And 2nd), same being unconstitutional and against the spirit and letters of Sections 14 (1) & (3), 15 and 224 (a) of the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, no date had been fixed for the matter to be heard.