Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court on Monday dismissed a suit challenging the decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to adopt an indirect primary for the nomination of its candidate for the November 16, 2019 governorship election in Kogi State.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in his judgment, upheld the preliminary objections filed by counsel for the APC, Mr Damien Dodo (SAN) to challenge the suit.
Justice Taiwo agreed with Dodo that the suit had been caught by the statute of limitation.
The judge held that going into the substantive matter was needless, since the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case on merit, having been statute-barred.
He held that the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/883/2019, was a pre-election matter which ought to have been heard and determined within 180 days as provided by Section 285(10) of the Nigerian Constitution.
Justice Taiwo clarified that although the suit was filed only on July 18, 2019, it was clearly premised on another one marked FHC/ABJ/CS/833/2019 which, instead of being determined within 180 days, was only ruled upon on Monday.
Consequently, based on the grounds of statute limitation in the earlier judgment on Monday, Justice Taiwo dismissed the said foundational suit which was instituted by the chairman and secretary of a parallel executive committee of the APC in Kogi State, Haddy Ametuo and Tam Adejoh, respectively.
The said foundational suit was instituted against the APC and Abdullahi Bello, who is the chairman of the Governor Yahaya Bello-backed faction of the party in the state.
The Bello-led faction of the APC in the state is recognised by the national bodies of the party.
The APC, which opposed the two suits ruled upon by the court on Monday, was represented by Mr Paul Daudu.
Justice Taiwo held:
“I do not intend to waste judicial time on this suit FHC/ABJ/CS/883/2019 in view of the ruling on the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/581/2018 read a few minutes ago, dismissing the suit for being caught by statute of limitation as provided under Section 285(10) of the Constitution.”
He ruled that “it will be pointless to consider the proprietary of this suit” when its foundational suit had been dismissed.
“The court, not being an academic institution, does not engage in academic exercise,” the judge ruled.
He added that “this suit has been spent and its resolution has become unnecessary in view of my earlier judgment.
“Answering the questions will bear no consequence on the dispute between the parties.
“I, therefore, have no choice other than to dismiss the suit in its entirety and I accordingly dismiss it.”
The suit was instituted by Destiny Aromeh, Isah Abubakar, Noah Aku and Joy Onu, who are members of a parallel executive committee of the APC in Kogi State.
It was instituted against the APC as the sole defendant.
The plaintiffs represented by Mr Oluwole Aladedoye, had urged the court to order the party not to adopt indirect primary to pave the way for a direct primary which would allow all card-carrying members of the party to vote.
He said if the National Working Committee of the party was not stopped, the party would go ahead to adopt indirect primary and his clients, not being the faction recognised by the national leadership of the party, would be “shut out” and not allowed to vote as delegates at the primary.
Aladedoye noted that the National Working Committee of the party adopted the indirect primary for Kogi State election in disregard to a pending suit on the disputed leadership of the party in the state.