Osigwe Momoh, an Abuja-based lawyer, has sued the All Progressive Congress, APC, and the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, at the Federal High Court Abuja for fielding the president and vice-president candidates of the party from the same religion.
In the suit, the lawyer sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, from publishing the name of the APC presidential candidate in the forthcoming coming elections for violation of the Nigeria Constitution.
The plaintiff claimed that the decision to pick the party’s presidential flagbearer and the running mate from the same religion (section) violates the principle and the spirit of the Nigeria Constitution.
In the originating summons, Osigwe argued that political parties must by virtue of Chapter Two of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), have their presidential and vice-presidential candidates from different sectional (tribal and religious) groups of the nation.
He, therefore, sought a declaration that “By virtue of Sections 14 -1,3, and 15 and 224(a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the defendants are bound by the principles of Chapter II of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and having the presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the same religion is unconstitutional, null and void.”
Osigwe, a human rights activist, requested the court to restrain INEC from publishing the candidate of the APC as a presidential candidate for the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.
The suit filed by the lawyer is the latest in the series of mixed reactions trailing the choice of Senator Kashim Shettima as the APC vice-presidential candidate.
Shettima, a two-term governor of Borno State, is the lawmaker representing Borno Central senatorial district in the National Assembly.
He was unveiled on Wednesday last week as Tinubu’s running mate at an event held in Abuja where the APC flagbearer advised Nigerians to look beyond religion and ethnicity and focus on building a prosperous nation.