Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court in Abuja, has fixed October 6 for hearing in a suit seeking the disqualification of the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, for allegedly acting in breach of the Electoral Act.
Justice Ekwo fixed the date for hearing shortly after he ordered service of all the relevant court processes, as well as hearing notices on all the defendants in the matter.
The suit filed by a former Minister of State for Education, and a presidential aspirant under the platform of the APC, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, and a non-governmental organization (NGO), the Incorporated Trustees of Rights for All International, is accusing Tinubu and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, of engaging in “massive vote buying” in the two separate primary elections that produced them as presidential candidates.
The plaintiff, in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/942/2022, stressed that the conduct of the two presidential candidates seriously marred the primary electoral process because majority of the delegates were bought over with dollars.
Besides Tinubu and Atiku, the APC, PDP, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are other defendants in the suit.
Nwajiuba, who polled only one vote at the primary election that held on June 8, included in his proof of evidence, a video recording showing the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, decrying that delegates at the APC primary sold their votes.
Outside the allegation of vote buying, the plaintiffs are querying Tinubu’s source of income and his educational qualifications.
In the suit filed by their lawyer, Mr Nnamdi Okere, the plaintiffs urged the court to declare that the third defendant (Tinubu), “who had previously sworn an affidavit in the INEC nomination form declaring that he lost his primary and secondary school documents and benefitted therefrom, cannot in a later affidavit deny and abandon same facts deposed in the previous affidavit and thus falsely contradicting his academic qualifications”.
The plaintiffs attached to the suit, copies of affidavits Tinubu deposed to while he was the governorship candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in Lagos State.
“That the entire circumstances surrounding the two depositions of the third defendant points to the fact that they are false and misleading and cannot be relied upon.
“That the possession of a higher degree does not substitute the minimum requirement of law, where the minimum academic requirement is manifestly absent by an avowed fact,” plaintiffs averred.
Among other things, the plaintiffs prayed the court to determine: “Whether the All Progressives Congress is exempted from compliance with section 90(3) of the Electoral Act 2022, having presented the third defendant (Tinubu) as its presidential candidate to the sixth defendant (INEC) and the sixth defendant accepted and published same, being the name of a person whose source of N100m contribution fee for the nomination form and expression of interest form was not verified.”