- Awards N2m against plaintiffs
Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Wednesday dismissed a suit seeking the disqualification of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo from the concluded November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.
Justice Taiwo, in a judgment, dismissed the suit for being incompetent and lacking in merit, warning politicians not to use the court to stagnate democracy in the country.
Two indigenes of Anambra State, Adindu Valentine and Egwudike Chukwuebuka, had dragged Soludo and his deputy, Onyeka Ibezim, to court, seeking their disqualification from the November 6 governorship poll, accusing them of providing false information in the affidavit (Form EC9) which they submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of their qualification for the poll.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/711/2021, the plaintiffs claimed that Soludo indicated, in the affidavit, that he was contesting the Aguata 2 Constituency seat when in fact, he was contesting the Anambra governorship seat, while his deputy was accused of claiming contesting the Awka Constituency seat.
The defendants in the suit include INEC, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Soludo and Ibezim.
Delivering judgment in the suit however, Justice Taiwo held that the suit was not only unnecessary but a complete waste of the previous time of the court, adding that lawyers should properly advise their clients before instituting some legal actions.
According to the judgment, the plaintiffs failed to convince the court that Soludo and his deputy supplied false information to INEC in their Form EC9, adding that the plaintiffs did not also show how they were misled by the information contained in the affidavits of personal particulars.
“I have carefully perused Form EC9 for the third defendant and I can see that the third defendant marked that he was contesting the position of governor.
“He also clearly stated that his constituency is Agwuata 2 Anambra and the name of his political party.
“All other information as to his person are also in his affidavits which was deposed to on the 1st of July 2020,” the judge noted, observing same for the 4th defendant.
Justice Taiwo however wondered how it was brought to the plaintiffs that the 3rd and 4th defendants are not contesting for the governorship and deputy governorship election in Anambra State.
“Were there other elections holding in Anambra State for which the 1st defendant had called for elections? How has the plaintiff been misled by the information contained in the affidavits of personal particulars.
“The plaintiffs have failed woefully to convince the court that the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants supplied false information to the 1st defendant which they knowingly accepted.
“I am yet to come to terms with the purpose this suit if I must say is meant to serve.
“Democracy and its institutions should not be abused. The rule of law must not be abused and the rule of law must not be used as an instrument to choke democracy from breathing freely.
“The case of the plaintiffs must fail and I pronounce same as failed. The issues for determination are resolved against the plaintiffs and the reliefs being sought are totally rejected.
“This suit is not necessary and it has wasted the time of this court. The court also awarded N2 million against the paintiffs in favour of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants,” he said.