A federal high court in Abuja has dismissed a suit challenging the qualification of Chukwuma Soludo as a candidate in the November 6 Anambra state governorship election.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/711/2021, Adindu Valentine and Egwudike Chukwuebuk, the plaintiffs, had alleged that Soludo provided false information in the affidavit (Form EC9) that he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and thus should be deemed unqualified to stand for election.
The applicants contended that Soludo and Onyeka Ibezim, deputy governor-elect, indicated, in their forms, that they were contesting the Aguata 2 and Awka 2 constituency seats respectively instead of the Anambra governorship seat.
Delivering judgment on Wednesday, Taiwo Taiwo, the judge, held that the suit was “unnecessary”.
While the court dismissed the respondent’s preliminary objection challenging the competence of the suit and jurisdiction of the court to hear it, he held that the plaintiffs failed to establish that they had a reasonable cause of action.
“I have carefully perused form EC9 for the third defendant (Soludo) and I can see that the third defendant marked that he was contesting the position of governor,” the court held.
“He stated his constituency in the affidavits in support of the particulars. He also clearly stated that he was contesting the post of governor, his constituency is Aguata 2 Anambra and the name of his political party. All other information as to his person is also in his affidavits which were deposed to on the 1st of July 2020.
“I see that the fourth defendant marked the post he was contesting for and also stated same in the affidavits in support of his particulars for that office.
“The question is, how is it brought to the plaintiffs that the third and fourth defendants are not contesting for the governorship and deputy governorship election in Anambra state. Were there other elections held in Anambra state for which the 1st defendant had called for elections? How has the plaintiff been misled by the information contained in the affidavits of personal particulars?
“The plaintiffs have failed woefully to convince the court that the second, third and fourth defendants supplied false information to the 1st defendant which they knowingly accepted.
“I am yet to come to terms with the purpose this suit if I must say is meant to serve.
The judge stated that “democracy and its institutions should not be abused”.
“The rule of law must not be abused and the rule of law must not be used as an instrument to choke democracy from breathing freely,” he added.
“The case of the plaintiffs must fail and I pronounce same as failed. The issues for determination are resolved against the plaintiffs and the reliefs being sought are totally rejected. This suit is not necessary and it has wasted the time of this court.”
The court also awarded N2 million against the plaintiffs in favour of the second, third and fourth defendants.