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Court dismisses PDP’s suit against Gombe Governor

 Governor Mohammed Inuwa of Gombe State.

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has declined to nullify the candidacy of Governor Mohammed Inuwa of Gombe State.

In a ruling, Justice Binta Nyako, dismissed an allegation that the governor submitted forged documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in aid of his qualification.

The suit was brought before the court by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and two of its chieftains in the state, Muhammed Jibrin, and Timothy Danlele.

Cited as 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants in the matter were the INEC, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Governor Inuwa.

Specifically, the plaintiffs, through their lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Johnson Usman, alleged that the Governor lied on oath in documents he presented before the INEC and prayed the court to restrain the 3rd defendant from parading himself as the governorship candidate of the APC in the state.

Aside from praying the court to declare that in view of the provisions of Sections 177(d) and 182 (I) (j) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as Section 84(3) and (13) of the Electoral Act, the governor, is not qualified to participate in the election, the plaintiffs further urged the court to compel INEC to expunge his name from the list of bonafide candidates for the impending governorship contest.

Meanwhile, both the APC and Governor Inuwa, through their lawyer, Mr. Marshall Abubakar, challenged the competence of the suit and persuaded the court to dismiss it for want of jurisdiction.

The defendants argued that PDP and its members lacked the locus standi to institute an action to challenge the nomination of a candidate by another political party.

According to the defendants, only members of a party and its aspirants can challenge the outcome of a primary election or the nomination of a candidate.

They argued that the plaintiffs failed to establish any reasonable cause of action, stressing that the suit had become statute-barred since it was not filed within 14 days after INEC published governor Yahaya’s name as a candidate for the election.

However, Justice Nyako upheld the defendants’ preliminary objection and struck out the suit for want of competence.

The court declined the request for punitive costs to be awarded against the plaintiffs for abusing the judicial process.

Reporting by Ifeoma Nwovu; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu & Daniel Adejo