The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Monday dismissed a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s suit seeking the disqualification of Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara and other All Progressives Congress (APC)’s candidates in the forthcoming general elections.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgement, dismissed the suit on the ground that it was incompetent and constituted an abuse of the court process.
PDP had, in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1622/2022, sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, Mr Matawalle and his deputy, Mohammed Gusau Hassan, as the first to fourth defendants, respectively.
The party also sued all the state senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly candidates.
Former Governor Abdulaziz Yari, who is vying for the senatorial seat and ex-lawmaker, Kabir Marafa, were joined as fifth and seventh defendants, among the other 38th defendants listed in the originating summons.
The PDP, in the motion, asked the court to determine whether the APC, which adopted the indirect mode of primaries for the selection and nomination of its choice of candidates, should democratically elect delegates to vote at its convention, congress, conference or meeting convened to nominate candidates for elections into any elective office.
It said the question was upon a proper construction and interpretation of the combined provisions of sections 84 (1), (2), (5) & (8) of the Electoral Act, 2022 and other enabling laws on that behalf.
The party, therefore, sought an order nullifying the purported sponsorship and/or nomination of the third to 38th defendants by the APC (second defendant) to INEC for the 2023 general elections into the respective positions of the elective offices in Zamfara.
It also sought an order of injunction restraining INEC from according recognition to APC and all its candidates in the February 25 and March 11 polls, among others.
Delivering judgement, Mr Ekwo upheld all the preliminary objections raised by APC and its candidates.
The judge agreed with the defence that section 285 (14) (c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which the PDP relied on as giving them the locus standi (legal right) in the case, did not avail them.
According to him, this means no iota of law supports this action.
Mr Ekwo said he had also found that the plaintiff was not an aspirant in the APC primaries by virtue of sections 84(14) and 152 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
The judge, who held that no law supported the case filing, said he found that the suit constituted an abuse of the court process.
He also agreed with the defence that the suit was statute-barred, having been filed outside the 14 days of the cause of action as prescribed by the law.
Mr Ekwo consequently dismissed the suit.