The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the former Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajuba, for the disqualification of the presidential candidates of the Congress of all progressives (APC) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
A five-member panel of the tribunal unanimously dismissed the suit after Mr. Nwajiuba’s legal team withdrew the suit against the APC’s Bola Tinubu and the PDP’s Atiku Abubakar in Thursday’s proceedings.
The former minister had lost the case both in the Federal High Court and in the Court of Appeal, since both courts ruled at the same time that he had prescribed.
Nwajiuba and 12 others contested and lost the APC presidential primary election to Tinubu in June last year.
The former minister, who was absent from the APC primary election in June 2022, got just one vote.
In July 2022, together with a group, Rights for All International, he filed a lawsuit for the disqualification of Tinubu and Atiku as their respective parties’ presidential candidates.
His sentence was based on the fact that the APC and PDP candidates did not disclose the sources of the funds with which they obtained the nomination and expression of interest forms from their parties.
Mr. Nwajiuba, who resigned from his cabinet post in the cabinet led by President Muhammadu Buhari to contest the APC presidential primary, was the first contender to win the N100 million nomination and expression of interest forms from the party.
In his lawsuit, Mr. Nwajiuba said he was the only presidential hopeful who met the requirement of section 90(3) of the Election Act 2022 by disclosing the sources of the funds with which he purchased his APC nomination and forms. expression of interest.
He said that he produced a verifiable list of donors who donated between N500 and N500,000 for him to acquire the APC forms in accordance with the provisions of the law.
According to him, both Mr. Tinubu and Atiku did not disclose their own sources of funding in violation of the law.
Therefore, he urged the court to disqualify the two candidates and declared him as the only qualified contestant in the APC primary.
He urged the court to also declare his vote the only legal and valid vote scored at the convention and declare him the APC candidate for the 2023 presidential election.
Judge ZB Abubakar dismissed the claim in a judgment dated November 23, 2022.
The judge agreed with the argument in the preliminary objections put forward by Mr. Tinubu’s lawyer, Babatunde Ogala, a senior Nigerian lawyer, and other defense lawyers that Mr. Nwajiuba’s claim was time-barred.
The judge held that under the provisions of section 285(9) of the Nigerian constitution, the suit should have been filed within 14 days of the parties’ primary elections.
Dissatisfied with the Federal High Court’s decision, Mr. Nwajiuba appealed to the Abuja Court of Appeal in January.
A three-member panel of the appeals court, in a ruling handed down on February 15, upheld the Federal High Court’s decision by similarly dismissing the former minister’s lawsuit.
The court also awarded a cost of one million naira against the former minister and in favor of the defendants.
Still dissatisfied, Mr. Nwajiuba appealed to the Supreme Court.
But when the matter came up for hearing on Thursday, his legal team opted to drop it.
Inyang Okoro, who led a five-member panel of the court, dismissed the suit.
“Upon the request for withdrawal by the counsel for the appellant and without any objection from the counsel for the defendant, the appeal is dismissed,” the court ruled.
Tinubu won the February 25 presidential election after defeating Atiku and 16 other candidates.
But Atiku, as well as Labor Party presidential candidate Peter Obi and others have questioned the election result. They have filed separate petitions to challenge the result.