The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed September 14, to deliver judgment in a suit filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC), seeking the disqualification of the People’s Democratic party (PDP) candidate, Francis Chima for the House of Representatives, in Ajeromi/Ifelodun Federal constituency, in the 2023 general election.
The Presiding, Judge, Justice Daniel Osiagor gave the ruling after the adoption of final written addresses and adumberations of counsel to both parties.
APC and his candidate, Paul Adeboye Kalejaiye, who is also seeking election into the same seat, have dragged Chima before the court, challenging his emergence as the PDP’s candidate, in the coming general election, on the ground that the party’s primary election, which produced him, was not in conformity with the Section 84(13) of the new electoral Act.
APC and Kalejaiye in their suit marked FHC/L/CS/1316/2022, filed, by their counsel, Lawal Pedro (SAN) listed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP), as Chima’ co-respondents.
Lawal (SAN) while moving his clients’ motion, urged the court for the following reliefs; “a declaration that by virtue of the provision of Section 84 (1) of the Electoral Act 2022, the second respondent (PDP), when seeking to nominate a candidate to contest against the applicants the 2023 general election for the Ajeromi Ifelodun Federal Constituency of Lagos State seat in the National Assembly, has an obligation to hold primary election for aspirants from its party to elect a candidate.
“A declaration that by virtue of the provisions of section 84 (13) of the Electoral Act 2022, the nomination of the third respondent (Francis) as a candidate of the second respondent (PDP) to contest against the applicants in the 2023 general election for the Ajeromi Ifelodun Federal Constituency of Lagos State seat in the National Assembly is null and void, for failure of the second respondent to comply with the provisions of Sub Section 1 of Section 84 of the Act to conduct primary election for his nomination as a candidate
However, the PDP candidate in his preliminary objections to the suit, filed and argued by his team of lawyers led by Emeka Ozoani and Professor Joseph Abugu, both SANs, asked the court to dismiss the suit, for being frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of Court process, as the same has been caught by the limitation of time within which to file Pre-election matters under section 285(9) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
The two senior lawyers, apart from asking the court to dismiss the suit having being caught by the statute of limitation, also asked the court to decline jurisdiction in entertaining it and to award a substantial cost of N10 million, against the APC and Kalejaiye.
Ozoani in his arguments before the court, submitted that his client was duly declared the winner of the Primaries held on May 23, 2022 by the INEC’s national officers, with the attestation of the PDP’s officers at the State and Local Government Area levels.
He said, sequel to his victory, the result of the primaries with his name as duly elected candidate was forwarded by the INEC to the PDP. He added that the submission of his name by the PDP to the INEC was not an error but the result of a fairly won contest whereas the Plaintiff lost. “The PDP rightfully submitted his name and particulars to the INEC as the lawful winner of the Primaries of the PDP held on May 23, 2022 into the Ajeromi/Ifelodun Federal Constituency of Lagos State. ”
After listening to arguments and submission of counsel to parties, Justice Daniel Osiagor fixed September 14 for judgment.