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Lawyers Seek Disqualification Of Atiku, Tinubu, Obi, Drag INEC, AGF, Others To Court

On Wednesday in Abuja, three attorneys from Abuja petitioned the Federal High Court to force the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reject the nominations of Bola Tinubu, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and Peter Obi as candidates for the 2023 presidential election.

The attorneys, among others, are upset because their respective political parties illegally nominated Tinubu, Atiku, and Obi.

Ataguba Aboje, Oghenovo Otemu, and Ahmed Yusuf are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit designated FHC/ABJ/CS/1004/2022.

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In addition to INEC, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the All Progressives Congress (APC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and the Labour Party (LP) are the other defendants in the lawsuit, which was filed on June 29.

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The plaintiffs claim that the conduct of the primary elections that produced their presidential candidates violated the terms of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act, 2022, in the lawsuit brought on their behalf by Ataguba Aboje.

They claim, among other things, that the three parties broke the law by failing to choose their vice presidential nominees prior to the holding of their primary elections as required by the law.

They ask the court to rule on a number of things, including whether the Vice President of Nigeria is an elected post subject to the same qualifications as the President of Nigeria under the provisions of Sections 131, 141, and 142 of the 1999 Constitution.

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They also asked the court to determine whether by the provisions of Sections 131, 141 and 142 of the Constitution and Sections 29, 32, 84 and 152 of the Electoral Act, 2022, a candidate for an election to the office of the Vice President in Nigeria must be sponsored by a political party and whether in view of the same provisions a candidate for an election to the office of the President can be deemed to be validly nominated and declared winner of a primary election without first nominating associate from the same political party for the office of Vice President and both of them participating in the primary.

Plaintiffs further want the court to determine whether, given the same provisions of the laws, INEC can accept from a political party, the nomination of a candidate for election to the office of the President who participated alone in the primary election without nominating another candidate as an associate from the same political party to occupy the office of the Vice President.

Upon determination of the issues, the lawyers want the court to make a declaration that the office of the Vice President is an elective office subject to the same qualification as the office of the President and another declaration that a candidate for an election to the office of the Vice President must be sponsored by a political party in accordance with Section 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022.

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Similarly, the lawyers seek a declaration that APC, PDP and LP candidates for the office of the Vice President must participate together with their respective candidates for the election to the office of the President in their primary elections before they can be deemed validly elected.

Plaintiffs further sought another declaration that their Presidential candidates who did not participate together with their respective associates for the office of Vice President in their primary elections are invalidly nominated.

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They, therefore, applied for an order restraining INEC from recognizing Presidential candidates of APC, PDP and LP for failing to comply with the mandatory provisions of Sections 131 and 142 of the 1999 Constitution as well as Sections 29, 32, 84 and 152 of the Electoral Act, 2022.

In their 27- paragraph affidavit in support of the originating summons and deposed to by Ataguba Aboje, plaintiffs claimed that as lawyers, they have a duty to ensure that no person or group shall govern or take control of the Government of Nigeria except in accordance with the democratic provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

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They averred that the 1999 Constitution makes it mandatory for a Presidential candidate to be sponsored by a political party and that such candidates shall not be deemed validly nominated unless the candidate nominates another person from the same political as his running mate.

Plaintiffs asserted that APC, PDP and LP conducted their Presidential primaries during which Tinubu, Atiku and Obi were declared winners without a concurrent and contemporaneous declaration of candidates for the office of the Vice President.

They further averred that several days after the conclusion of their respective primaries, APC, PDP and LP submitted to INEC names of Alhaji Kabir Masari, Senator Ifeanyi Ókowa and Dr Doyin Okupe as their respective Vice Presidential candidates and as such nomination of their Presidential candidates is not in compliance with the 1999 Constitution.

Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

 

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