APC asks court to strike out Nwajuba’s suit against Tinubu

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APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu

The All Progressives Congress (APC), on Wednesday, prayed a Federal High Court, Abuja, to strike out a suit filed by former Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajuba, against its presidential candidate, Sen. Bola Tinubu.

Mr Julius Ishola, counsel to the APC in a suit filed by Nwajuba against Tinubu and others, told Justice Zainab Abubakar shortly after the matter was called for parties to adopt their processes.

The development followed non-appearance of Nwajuba or his lawyer in court.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ex-minister, was one of the presidential aspirants in the party’s primary conducted to elect its candidate for the 2023 presidential election

Nwajuba, in an amended originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1114/2022, had sued Mr Tinubu, APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

Nwajuba is seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC from accepting the candidacy of Tinubu, who he said was nominated in breach of the law.

The ex-minister, who sought an order mandating INEC to immediately expunge Tinubu’s name from the list of candidates for the 2023 presidential election, sought an order returning him (Nwajuba) to the electoral umpire as the APC presidential candidate on the grounds that his nomination met the requirements of the provisions of Section 90(3) of the 2022 Electoral Act.

NAN, however, observed that when the matter was called for hearing, only the lawyer representing the APC, Julius Ishola, was in court.

Ishola said that he received the notice of hearing of the court that the matter would be coming up at 12pm for adoption of processes.

He said he was ready to proceed on the case.

The lawyer, who said his counter affidavit and preliminary objection were filed on Dec. 19, adopted all his applications.

Justice Abubakar then asked Ishola about his submission on Nwajuba’s lawyer’s absence in court.

Responding, Ishola prayed the court for an order striking out the suit for want of diligent prosecution.

The lawyer said since the plaintiff received the court’s hearing notice and they failed to appear in court showed that they were either not ready to prosecute the case or they had abandoned the matter.

The judge, therefore, asked the lawyer if his processes were served on the plaintiff but Ishola said he could not confirm.

Abubakar, however, said that if she struck out the matter, the plaintiff would complain of lack of fair hearing.

Besides, she said that she was not sure if the plaintiff had received the APC’s application.

“And it is as if they have not received your processes because they have the right to reply,” she said.

In a short ruling, the judge held that since the application filed by the APC, which was adopted by Ishola, had not been served on the plaintiff, “it is here by set aside to give the plaintiff right of reply.”

Justice Abubakar ordered that hearing notices be served on the defendants and adjourned the matter until Dec. 22 (tomorrow).

In the application dated and filed on Oct. 11, Nwajuba, the plaintiff, also sought “a declaration that the mandatory provisions of Section 90(3) of the Electoral Act, 2022 was not complied with by the 2n defendant i(APC) in nominating and submitting the 1st defendant (Tinubu)’s name as tts presidential candidate to the 3rd defendant (INEC) for the 2023 presidential election.”

He sought a declaration that by virtue of Section 84 (13) of the Electoral Act, 2022, Tinubu and APC’s failure to identify the source of the N100 million as expression of interest and nomination form to INEC, which fees was collected in the conduct of party’s primary election empowers the commission to exclude Tinubu from the 2023 presidential election.

He further sought a declaration that as an aspirant, “whose nomination and expression of interest form fee is verified by producing the list of donors who donated between N500 to N500, 000,” he had complied with the provisions of Section 90(3) of the 2022 Electoral Act.

Nwajuba wants the court to declare him as the only qualified contestant and his votes as the only lawful and valid vote scored at the APC convention, having provided source of his fee paid in compliance with Section 90(3) of Electoral Act, 2022, and should be declared the party’s candidate for the presidential poll, among others.(NAN)

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