The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish the name of Hassan Abdullahi as the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) bonafide candidate for the Kogi governorship election scheduled to hold on 11 November.
Delivering judgment, James Omotosho held that having scored the highest lawful votes in the party’s 16 April primary election monitored by INEC, Mr Abdullahi’s name ought to have been uploaded and published in the list of the governorship candidates for the 11 November election on the electoral body’s portal.
Mr Omotosho held that the substitution of Mr Abdullahi’s name with the name of Musa Mubarak contravened Sections 84(1) and 84(5)(b) (I) and (ii) of the Electoral Act, 2022, as well as Article 34 of the constitution of NNPP, and the guidelines for the conduct of primaries for nomination of candidates for off-season governorship elections.
He further held that any other primary election conducted outside the 16 April poll was unlawful and unconstitutional.
The judge, who dismissed the preliminary objection of the 1st and 2nd defendants, said that the suit was not statute-barred, having been filed within 14 days as provided by the law.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Abdullahi, through his lawyer, Mustapha Ibrahim, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had sued the NNPP, Musa Salihu Mubarak and INEC in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/651/2023.
In the suit filed on 11 May, Mr Abdullahi sought an order mandating the NNPP to withdraw Mr Mubarak’s name and resubmit his name to INEC as its governorship candidate for the forthcoming poll.
He also sought an order compelling INEC to remove Mr Mubarak’s name as NNPP’s candidate from its portal and restore his name as the valid candidate of the party.
The plaintiff sought a perpetual injunction restraining INEC and its staff from publishing Mr Mubarak’s name as the NNPP candidate for the November poll in the list of candidates on its portal, among other reliefs.
The judge granted all the reliefs sought.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters shortly after the judgment, Mr Abdullahi, who felt elated, said: “Justice has finally taken its course.”
“The only place for an ordinary man is the court. We have approached the court, and the court has granted all our reliefs. So I am very happy,” he said.
Mr Abdullahi said his next step was to see how to reconcile all aggrieved members with a view to winning the 11 November poll.
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