Suit also seeks to disqualify Atiku Abubakar

Nigeria Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the main challenger in the 2019 presidential elections (left) and Muhammadu Buhari, the incumbent president (right)
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the main challenger in the 2019 presidential elections (left) and Muhammadu Buhari, the incumbent president (right)

Justice Ahmed Mohammed-led Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, has accepted to hear a suit seeking to disqualify the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar and nullify the election victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23, 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections over allegation that he violated section 91(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended. 

Justice Ahmed Mohammed ordered substituted service of the suit on Buhari, through the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/191/2019, was lodged before the court by the candidate of the National Rescue Movement, NRM, in the February 23 presidential election, Usman Ibrahim Alhaji.

Specifically, the Plaintiff, alleged that contrary to provisions of the Electoral Act, President Buhari, expended more than one billion naira during his campaign for re-election.

He asked the court to also invalidate the participation of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, alleging that he was equally in breach of clear provisions of the electoral law.

Cited as defendants in the suit were Buhari, the APC, Atiku, PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The plaintiff is among other reliefs, seeking for, “A declaration that the 1st and 3rd Defendants (Buhari and Atiku), have brazenly and flagrantly violated the provisions of section 91(2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), having exceeded the maximum legally allowable N1 billion election expenditure for presidential candidates, taking into cognizance, the excessive, profligate and continuous extravagant presidential campaign of the 1st and 3rd Defendants since their emergence as presidential candidates of their respective political parties.

“A declaration that the 1st defendant’s unauthorized use of state resources brand-named ‘TRADERMONI’, with which the 1st Defendant through his running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has employed to tacitly induce electorates in exchange for their votes, amount to fraud covered within section 124(1)(a) (b) (c) and section 130 of the Electoral Act.

“A declaration that branded items such as bags of fertilizers, bags of rice, distributed to electorates at campaign rallies by the 1st and 3rd Defendants, amount to inducement of electorates in exchange for their votes, amount to fraud covered within section 124(1)(a) (b) (c) and section 130 of the Electoral Act”.

As well as “An order of this honourable court directing the 5th Defendant (INEC) to expunge the names of the 2nd and 4th Defendants (APC and PDP) from the presidential ballot papers so as to rescue Nigeria’s democracy from money bags, the influence of money, also to prevent the undue use of money, and to preserve the peoples’ sovereignty as enshrined in section 14(2)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

Meanwhile, before the matter was adjourned till March 26, 2019, for hearing, Justice Mohammed directed that all the relevant processes should be served on both Buhari and Atiku, through the legal departments of their respective political parties.

The order for substituted service was made after counsel to the plaintiff, Mr. Ezekiel Ofou, told the court that his client found it extremely difficult to serve the court papers on either Buhari or Atiku, due to retinue of security aides around them.

Ofou therefore moved an ex-parte order for leave to reach the two defendants through their parties, a request that was granted by the court.

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