A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to restore the name of Hon. Hassan Abdullahi as the bonafide governorship candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in the forthcoming Kogi governorship election scheduled to hold on 11th November 2023.
The judgment was delivered by Justice James Omotosho on Tuesday in the originating summons instituted by Abdulahi against New Nigerian Peoples Party’s candidate, Musa Salihu Mubarak, and INEC.
Recall that the NNPP National Publicity Secretary, Agbo Major, had in a statement in May announced that Musa allegedly won the party’s governorship primary.
Mubarak was issued certificate of return and his name eventually forwarded to INEC.
But Abdullahi maintained he had been shortchanged by party members and thereby instituted a suit for the court to determine who actually won the primary election.
Part of the reliefs his lawyer, Mustapha Ibrahim. sought are listed below:
“An order of this honorable court, mandating the 1st defendant (NNPP) to withdraw the 2nd defendant’s(Musa) name and re-submit the plaintiff’s name to the 3rd defendant(INEC) as its governorship candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi state, scheduled to hold on 11th November, 2023.
“An order of this honourable court, mandating the 3rd defendant to remove the 2nd defendant’s name as the 1st defendant’s governorship candidate, from its portal and restore the plaintiff’s name as the 1st bonafide governorship candidate of the defendant for the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi state, scheduled to hold on 11th November, 2023.
“An order of this honourable court mandating the 3rd defendant to publish the plaintiff’s name as the 1st defendant’s governorship candidate, in its list of candidates on its portal, for the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi state, scheduled to hold on 11th November, 2023.
“An order of perpetual injunction, restraining the 3rd defendant, its officers, agents or privies from publishing the 2nd defendant’s name as the 1st candidate for the defendant’s governorship forthcoming kogi state governorship election, scheduled to hold on 11th November, 2023, in its list of candidates on its portal.”
But the lawyers representing Musa and INEC urged the court to dismiss the suit, saying it was statute barred — no longer legally enforceable due to the time it was filed.
In his judgment on Tuesday, Justice Omotosho held that the application was not filed out of time.
The judge observed that Abdulahi won the NNPP primary poll on April 16.
He faulted the party for substituting Abdulahi’s name contrary to Electoral laws.
He granted all the prayers of the plaintiff, thereby declaring him as the valid candidate for the NNPP.
Reacting to the court’s verdict, Abdulahi said, “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.”
Joy Abadu, who represented Abdullahi at today’s judgment, said they wanted the court to interpret relevant sections of the Electoral Act and make pronouncement on the valid candidate of NNPP.