News

January 27, 2023

Presidential Poll: Court refuses to order INEC to strike out Tinubu’s name

Tinubu

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Friday, declined to issue an order of mandamus to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to expunge the name of the flag-bearer of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, from list of qualified candidates for the forthcoming presidential election.

The court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Binta Nyako, dismissed the suit which accused the APC of failing to comply with mandatory provisions of section 90 (3) of the Electoral Act, 2022, in nominating Tinubu as its presidential candidate.

The suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1960/2022, was brought before the court by a non-governmental organization under the aegis of the Incorporated Trustees of Kingdom Human Rights Foundation International.

Justice Nyako held that the plaintiff, not being a registered political party in the country, lacked the locus-standi (legal right) to institute the action.

The court noted that the plaintiff had earlier filed a similar suit that was dismissed for want of merit.

Though the court accused the plaintiff of engaging in an abuse of the judicial process through multiplicity of actions, it however commended its lawyer, Mr. Jideobi Johnmary for his erudition.

According to the court, since the plaintiff had no right to file the action, there was no need to consider any of the issues it raised against Tinubu.

Specifically, the plaintiff had prayed the court for; “A declaration that having regard to the clear, unambiguous and express provisions, sprit and tenor of Section 90 (3) read alongside section 84 (13) of the Electoral Act 2022, the 1st defendant, has deliberately refused to exercise the powers, mandate and statutory duty/obligation bestowed on him in section 84 (13) of the Electoral Act 2022, to immediately exclude, expunge and remove the 3rd defendant’s name Bola Ahmed Tinubu from the final list of presidential candidates contesting the 2023 presidential election for failure of the 2nd Defendant to comply with the mandatory provisions of section 90 (3) of the Electoral Act 2022.

“A declaration that by operation of law and having regard to the clear, unambiguous and express provisions, sprit and tenor of Section 90 (3) read alongside section 84 (13) of the Electoral Act 2022, the 3rd defendant Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is not a candidate for the 2023 Presidential election, and he is automatically excluded, expunged, and removed from participating in the 2023 presidential election for failure of the 2nd Defendant to comply with the mandatory provisions of section 90 (3) of the Electoral Act 2022 in nominating the 3rd defendant as its presidential candidate.

“An order of mandamus directing and compelling 1st defendant to exercise the powers, mandate and statutory duty/ obligation bestowed on him in section 84 (13) of the Electoral Act 2022, to immediately exclude, expunge and remove the 3rd Defendant’s name Bola Ahmed Tinubu from the final list of presidential candidates contesting the 2023 presidential election for failure of the 2nd Defendant to comply with the mandatory provisions of section 90 (3) of the Electoral Act 2022 in nominating the 3rd defendant as its presidential candidate”.

As well as, “An order nullifying and setting aside as illegal, null and void, the nomination of the 3rd defendant as the presidential candidate of the 2nd defendant for failure of the 2nd defendant to comply with the mandatory provisions of section 90 (3) of the Electoral Act 2022”.

On grounds upon which it instituted the action, the plaintiff argued that by the provision of section 90 (3) of the 2022 Electoral Act, no political party in Nigeria is allowed to receive any contribution, of cash or kind, exceeding N50million, without showing the source of the contribution to INEC.

However, both the APC and Tinubu, who were cited in the suit as 2nd and 3rd Defendants, filed preliminary objections to challenge the competence of the suit.

The Defendants described the suit as non-justiciable, adding that it was statute barred since it was not filed within 14 days after Tinubu’s name was submitted to the INEC.

Consequently, they prayed the court to decline jurisdiction and dismiss the suit.