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Court sacks Al-Mustapha as AA presidential candidate

Hamza Al-mustapha

The Federal High Court, Abuja, has rejected an application requesting it to set aside its November 4 judgment recognising the candidates produced by the Adekunle Rufai Omo-Aje-led faction of the Action Alliance (AA) party.

By virtue of Thursday’s ruling by Justice Zainab Abubakar, Hamza Al-mustapha, who was chosen by a rival faction of AA as its presidential candidate, will be delisted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

According to Justice Abubakar, the application filed by the Kenneth Obidiche Udeze-led faction of the AA “lacked merit”.

NAN reports that Justice Abubakar had in the November 4 judgement ordered INEC to accept the candidates submitted for the 2023 general election by the Omo-Aje leadership of the party.

The judge also directed the electoral umpire to reject those candidates produced by the factional leader, Mr Udeze, among whom are Mr Al-Mustapha and his running-mate.

But Mr Udeze, whose suspension and expulsion as the AA national chairman had been upheld in two judgments of the Court of Appeal, had applied to the Federal High Court, Abuja, to set aside the November 4 judgment, claiming it was obtained by fraud and that he was still the party’s national chairman.

Delivering Thursday’s judgement, Justice Abubakar said, with the two subsisting judgments of the Court of Appeal and another decision by the Federal High Court in Abeokuta, Mr Udeze “cannot lawfully lay claim to being the chairman of the party”.

The two judgments of the Court of Appeal were delivered on January 7 and November 11 while the ruling by the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, was delivered on September 8 by Justice JO Abdulmalik in a suit marked: FHC/AB/CS/120/2022.

The judge held that her earlier judgment delivered on November 4 was “not obtained by fraud” as claimed by Mr Udeze.

She described Mr Udeze as a “busy-body and meddlesome interloper”, trying to “interfere in the affairs of the party from which he was suspended and later expelled”.

Justice Abubakar consequently dismissed the suit.

Mr Al-Mustapha, the former aide to late head of state, Sani Abacha, won the presidential primary election of the party conducted by the Udeze faction, with a total of 506 votes, defeating Samson Odupitan, his only opponent, on June 9 in Abuja.

Writing by Abdullahi Lamino; Editing by Tony Okerafor