2023 Presidential primaries: Ex-Minister asks court to disqualify Tinubu, Atiku over ‘vote buying’

The immediate-past Minister of State for education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has filed a suit before an Abuja Federal High Court seeking to void the election of Bola Tinubu as presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, (APC).

Nwajiuba, who was an APC presidential candidate but received only one vote in the June 8 primary despite staying away, accused Tinubu of bribing delegates with dollars.

The suit, filed alongside a non-governmental organisation, (NGO), the Incorporated Trustees of Rights for All International, is also praying the court to disqualify Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), over breach of the Electoral Act.

Other defendants in the matter are the APC, PDP, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC).

The plaintiffs, in the suit filed through their lawyer, Okere Nnamdi, alleged that the Party primary that produced Tinubu as the APC’s 2023 presidential candidate was tainted by corruption and widespread vote buying, insisting that the majority of the delegates were bought over with dollars,

In his proof of evidence attached to the suit, Nwajiuba attached a video clip showing where Rotimi Amaechi, former transportation minister, complained that delegates at the APC primary sold their votes.

The plaintiffs also queried Tinubu’s source of income and his educational qualifications. 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 State on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy, (AD), were supplied by the plaintiffs.

Among other things, the plaintiffs also 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 qualification 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.

The presiding judge, Inyang Ekwo, in his ruling, ordered for the 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 case.

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