Former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani

The Federal High Court sitting in Enugu, on Friday, dismissed the suit filed by Senator Gilbert Nnaji seeking to disqualify Chimaroke Nnamani, former Governor of the state and lawmaker-elect representing Enugu East Senatorial District.

Nnaji, who came fourth at the primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held in October 2018, had approached an Abuja Federal High Court asking that his name be submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party's candidate for the senatorial district.

He claimed through Onyinye Mbanefo, his counsel, that Nnamani, was not present during the party's screening of candidates and as such was not qualified to stand for the primary elections.

Nnaji further claimed that he came second in the election and was the rightful candidate.

However, the case was later transferred to the Enugu Federal High Court on the order of the Chief Judge of the court.

Arguing against the suit, Chijioke Anyigbo, told the court that the suit was statute barred, arguing that the course of action should have risen after the PDP screening which the plaintiff (Nnaji) claimed Nnamani did not attend.

However, there was drama midway when Chinedu Nneji indicated interest to be joined in the matter. Nneji, who came second in the  primary, prayed the court to declare him as the rightful candidate of the party in the event of Nnamani's disqualification.

Delivering judgement in the suit, Justice Buba Mohammed said Nnaji appeared in person to give testimony where he claimed to have come second in the PDP primary. He, however, held that having failed to institute the action within the period as provided by the law, the matter was dead.

While agreeing that the issue of jurisdiction was clearly raised by the defendant, the court held that the suit was statute barred and should be dismissed, adding that "head or tail, night or day, the case of the plaintiff is statute barred. In that case, the only thing the court could do is that of dismissal." 

He also added: "The plaintiff cannot cry wolf where there was none. This is a plaintiff who chose to file his case in Abuja; he started on a wrong footing."

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