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

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

The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1960/2022, was brought before the court by the Incorporated Trustees of Kingdom Human Rights Foundation International. The Non governmental organisation 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.

Describing the suit as non-justifiable, the APC and Tinubu, who were cited in the suit as second and third defendants, filed preliminary objections to challenge the competence of the suit adding that it was statute barred since it was not filed within 14 days after Tinubu’s name was submitted to the INEC. As a result, they prayed the court to decline jurisdiction and dismiss the suit.

Delivering judgment, Justice Binta Nyako, held that the plaintiff lacked the locus standi to institute the suit since it is not a registered political party in the country. Accordingly, there was no need to consider any of the issues it raised against Tinubu.

The court also observed that the plaintiff had earlier filed a similar suit that was dismissed for want of merit and thus accused the plaintiff of engaging in an abuse of the judicial process through multiplicity of actions.

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.”

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