Reprieve came the way of the All Progressives Congress Thursday as the Court of Appeal sitting in some parts of the country affirmed its Enugu and Taraba governorship candidates, while the FCT High Court upheld that of Ogun state for Saturday election.
Those cleared were Ayogu Eze (Enugu), Sani Danladi (Taraba) and Dapo Abidodun for Ogun state.
Confirming Eze’s candidature, a three-member panel led by Justice Abdul Aboki set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court, Enugu which had earlier affirmed George Ogara as the party’s governorship candidate in Enugu state.
Ogara filed a suit at a Federal High Court challenging the choice of Eze after the APC primaries on October 4.
Aboki voided the FHC’s decision on the ground that the suit brought before the trial judge had become statute barred and not competent in law, having been found outside the mandatory 14 days populated by section 258(9) of the 1999 constitution.
The court specifically held that Ogara’s suit was caught by the 4th alteration Act to the 1999 constitution which, as a new law, makes it mandatory for all pre-election matters to be filed within 14 days of the cause of action.
In the instant case, Aboki said the case of Ogara was more than 32 days clear days, after the cause of action, thereby rendering the suit to a mere academic exercise.
The appellate court held that Ogara’s failure to file his suit within 14 days had offended section 285(9), removed jurisdiction from the trial court and made the case to be statute bar.
Aboki said whatever right Ogara may have in this suit had been extinguished by law and therefore lacked the right to benefit any longer from the case.
The court further ruled that Ogara and the Independent National Electoral Commission were the respondents on the matter of law and therefore had no right to benefit any longer from the case.
Ogara and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are the respondents on the matter.
The court gave the order Thursday, a day after the Federal High Court in Jalingo disqualified Danladi from participating in Saturday poll.
The APC candidate was disqualified from the election over the allegation of improper declaration of age.
…Abiodun too in Ogun
Also, an FCT High Court Apo Thursday upheld the candidacy of Adedapo Abiodun as the APC governorship candidate.
The court dismissed the suit filed by an APC member in the state, AbdulRafiu Baruwa, praying the court to disqualify the APC candidate on the ground that he supplied false information to INEC in his Form CF 001.
Baruwa in the suit had asked Justice Olukayode Adeniyi to disqualify Abiodun from the governorship race for alleged concealment and deliberate refusal to supply details of his educational qualifications to INEC as require by law so as to escape punishment for infringement on the law.
The plaintiff said APC governorship candidate claimed in 2015 senatorial election form for Ogun East to have graduated from University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowi University, but in the 2019 governorship form, the candidate was said to have claimed to possess only secondary school education.
Baruwa said Abiodun deliberately concealed his university education because of his alleged non-participation in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps scheme for Nigerians who are 30 years and below as at the time if graduation.
He also sought another order of the court to replace Abiodun with one Jimi Lawal, who was said to have come second in the primary election conducted by APC for nomination of governorship candidate for the state.
Delivering judgement, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, held that Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution cannot be invoked to disqualify the APC candidate because participation in the NYSC scheme was not a condition for qualification for governorship election.
He also held that the failure to include university education in the Form CF 001 submitted to INEC by Abiodun cannot be used to nullify his nomination because of the provision of the law that a minimum qualification of secondary school is required.
Justice Adeniyi said there was no consequences for Abiodun with his refusal to give details of his university education.
The court also ruled that the case of the plaintiff was an academic exercise which had no bearing with qualifications for governorship election under the constitution of the country.
The judge, therefore, held that the case of the plaintiff was unmeritorious and consequently dismissed it.
Among others, Justice Adeniyi held that the Abuja High Court had the jurisdiction to entertain the suit because the fact that brought about the case all emanated in Abuja while the suit was not statute Bar as claimed by the defendants. (NAN)