A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit that sought to disqualify the governorship and deputy governorship candidates of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the last governorship election in Anambra State – Charles Soludo and Onyeka Ibezim.
The plaintiffs – Adindu Valentine and Egwudike Chukwuebuka – are contending that Soludo and Ibezim provided false information in the affidavit (Form EC9) that they submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and should be declared as unqualified to stand for election.
In the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/711/2021 the plaintiffs claimed that Soludo indicated, in his Form EC9, Aguata 2, Anambra Constituency as the position he was contesting when, in fact, he was contesting the Anambra governorship seat.
Ibezim was said to have indicated Awka 2, Anambra Constituency as against the deputy governorship seat he was contesting.
Defendants in the suit were the Indepenent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APGA, Soludo and Ibezim.
In his judgment on Wednesday, Justice Taiwo Taiwo held that the suit was frivolous as the plaintiffs failed to show how they were misled by the information supplied by Soludo and Ibezim.
Justice Taiwo noted that Soludo and Ibezim clearly ticked the positions of governor and deputy governor in the forms they submitted to INEC and only indicated their constituencies, which did not amount to supplying false information as envisaged under the Electoral Act.
The judge said it was known to all, including the plaintiffs, that only governorship election was held in Anambra on November 6 this year.
Justice Taiwo added: “The plaintiffs are alleging false information against the third and fourth defendants for stating their constituencies.
“The question is how is it lost on the plaintiffs that the third and fourth defendants are not contesting for the governorship and deputy governorship elections in Anambra State?
“Were there other elections holding in Anambra State for which the first defendants (INEC) has called for elections? How have the plaintiffs been misled by the information contained in the affidavit of personal particulars supplied by the third and fourth defendants?
“These are the fundamental issues and questions which the plaintiffs must answer in the positive.
“I am amazed that the deponent to the affidavit in support of the originating summons will depose to facts showing that the first defendant (INEC) accepted the forms of the third and fourth defendants, wherein they stated that they were contesting for the governorship and deputy governorship of Aguata 2, Anambra and Awka 2, Anambra respectively.
“Are there states with such names in the Federal Republic of Nigeria? The plaintiffs have failed woefully to convince this court that the second, third and fourth defendants supplied false information to the first defendant, which the first defendant knowingly and wilfully accepted.
“They (the plaintiffs) have not convinced the court at all by this action. I am yet to come to terms with the purpose this suit was meant to serve. I say this, because I am not convinced that this action is reasonable.
“From the totality of the processes filed by the plaintiffs, the issues raised for determination and reliefs sought do not help the deepening of our democracy viewing from the facts before the court.
“The case of the plaintiffs must fail, and I pronounce same as failed. The issues for determination are resolved against the plaintiffs and the reliefs sought are totally rejected.
“I think it is high time that counsel advise their clients as to the type of matters they should pursue or file in court. This suit is not necessary.
“It has wasted the time of this court and I shall have to award cost against the plaintiffs jointly and or severally, in favour of the second, third and fourth defendants in the sum of N2million. The case of the plaintiffs is hereby accordingly dismissed,” the judge held.
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