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Buhari's Former Minister, Nwajiuba Asks Court To Disqualify Tinubu, Atiku Over 'Vote-Buying'

October 2, 2022

The suit is also asking the court to disqualify the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar for violating the Electoral Act. 

Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, the former Minister of State for Education, has filed a lawsuit in Abuja Federal High Court to challenge Bola Tinubu's selection as the All Progressives Congress's (APC) presidential candidate.

The suit is also asking the court to disqualify the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar for violating the Electoral Act. 

The lawsuit, numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/942/2022, was filed alongside a non-governmental organisation, Incorporated Trustees of Rights for All International.

Others listed as defendants in the suit filed by the Plaintiffs' lawyer, Okere Nnamdi, are the APC, PDP, Nigeria's Attorney General of the Federation (Abubakar Malami), and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claimed that Tinubu's selection as the APC's presidential candidate for 2023 came as a result of widespread vote-buying and corruption. It alleged that the majority of the delegates were bought over with cash. 

As part of the exhibits filed along with the suit is a video of Rotimi Amaechi, a former transportation minister, alleging that delegates at the APC primary held in June, sold their votes. 

Nwajiuba and Amaechi were ministers in President Muhammadu Buhari's cabinet until May, when they resigned their appointments to contest the APC presidential ticket at the party's primary election. 

In the suit, the plaintiffs also questioned Tinubu's educational background and source of wealth.

They urged the court to declare that the third defendant (Tinubu), “who had previously sworn an affidavit in the INEC nomination form declaring that he lost his primary and secondary school documents and benefitted therefrom, cannot in a later affidavit deny and abandon same facts deposed in the previous affidavit and thus falsely contradicting his academic qualifications”.

Copies of the affidavits Tinubu signed while running for governor of Lagos on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) were supplied by the plaintiffs.

“That the entire circumstances surrounding the two depositions of the 3rd defendant point to the fact that they are false and misleading and cannot be relied upon,” they said.

“That the possession of a higher degree does not substitute the minimum requirement of law, where the minimum academic requirement is manifestly absent by an avowed fact.

“That the possession of a higher education qualification such as a first degree or master's degree is predicated on the minimum educational qualification as provided in the Constitution.”

Among other things, the plaintiffs prayed the court to determine “whether the APC is exempted from compliance with section 90(3) of the Electoral Act 2022, having presented the 3rd defendant (Tinubu) as its presidential candidate to the 6th defendant (INEC), and the 6th defendant accepted and published same, being the name of a person whose source of N100m contribution fee for the nomination form and expression of interest form was not verified”.

The plaintiffs also want the court to determine “whether the constitutional provision prescribing the academic qualifications of candidates and prescribing minimum qualification of school certificate or its equivalent has been complied with by the 3rd defendant who, on oath, has admitted that he does not possess such minimum qualification prescribed in the  1999 Constitution of Nigeria”.

For Atiku, the plaintiffs alleged that he engaged in vote-buying, Barrister NG reports.

They want the court to determine “whether the conduct of the 3rd and 4th defendants (Tinubu and Atiku) and their agents, who by way of corrupt inducement of delegates with US Dollars, which being a foreign currency and non-legal tender in Nigeria under the CBN Act, and the possession which requires declaration under the EFCC Act, used the Dollars for inducement of votes in favour of the 3rd and 4th defendants, have rendered the votes of such delegates cast in favour of the 3rd and 4th defendants at the 1st and 2nd defendant’s special conventions illegal, void and invalid and of no effect whatsoever; and thus inhibiting the 3rd and 4th defendants from benefiting from the proceeds of their own gross illegalities”. 

Inyang Ekwo, the presiding judge, on Friday, ordered service of all the relevant court processes as well as hearing notices on all the defendants in the matter.

He also fixed October 6 for hearing of the suit.