The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday dismissed a suit challenging the decision of the All Progressives Congress to adopt indirect primary for nominating its candidate for the forthcoming November 16, 2019 governorship election in Kogi State.
In a ruling, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, upheld the preliminary objections filed by the APC to challenge the suit, saying that the suit had been caught by the statute of limitation.
Taiwo held that the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case on merit, having been statute-barred, adding: “it was needless to go into the proprietary of the party’s choice of indirect primary”
He held further that the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/883/2019, was a pre-election matter which ought to have been heard and determined within 180 days as provided by Section 285(10) of the Nigerian Constitution.
The judge noted that although the suit was filed only on July 18, 2019, it was clearly premised on another one marked FHC/ABJ/CS/833/2019 which, instead of being determined within 180 days, was only ruled upon on Monday.
In an earlier judgment on Monday, the judge dismissed the said foundational suit which was instituted by the Chairman and Secretary of a parallel executive committee of the APC in Kogi State, Haddy Ametuo and Tam Adejoh, respectively on the grounds of statute limitation.
The said foundational suit was instituted against the APC, and Abdullahi Bello, who is the Chairman of the Governor Yahaya Bello-backed faction of the party in the state.
The Bello-led faction of the APC in the state is recognized by the national bodies of the party.
The APC, which opposed the two suits ruled upon by the court on Monday, was represented by Paul Daudu.
While delivering judgment on the suit challenging the APC’s adoption of Indirect primary election in the state, Justice Taiwo held, “I do not intend to waste judicial time on this suit FHC/ABJ/CS/883/2019 in view of the ruling on the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/581/2018 read a few minutes ago, dismissing the suit for being caught by statute of limitation as provided under Section 285(10) of the Constitution.”
“It will be pointless to consider the proprietary of this suit” when its foundational suit had been dismissed,” he ruled.
“The court, not being an academic institution, does not engage in academic exercise,” the judge ruled further.
“This suit has been spent and its resolution has become unnecessary in view of my earlier judgment.
“Answering the questions will bear no consequence on the dispute between the parties.
“I therefore have no choice other than to dismiss the suit in its entirety and I accordingly dismiss it,” he added.
The plaintiffs represented by Oluwole Aladedoye, had urged the court to order the party not to adopt indirect primary to pave the way for a direct primary which would allow all card-carrying members of the party to vote.
He said if the National Working Committee of the party was not stopped, the party would go ahead to adopt indirect primary and his clients, not being the faction recognized by the national leadership of the party, would be “shut out” and not allowed to vote as delegates at the primary.
Aladedoye explained that the National Working Committee of the party adopted the indirect primary for Kogi State election in disregard to a pending suit on the disputed leadership of the party in the state.