The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has dismissed a suit seeking Prof. Chukwuma Soludo’s disqualification from the recently concluded November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.
In a ruling, Justice Taiwo Taiwo dismissed the case as inept and without substance, cautioning politicians not to use the court to stifle democracy in the country.
Two Anambra State residents, Adindu Valentine and Egwudike Chukwuebuka, had sued Soludo and his deputy, Onyeka Ibezim, seeking their disqualification from the November 6 governorship election, accusing them of providing false information in the affidavit (Form EC9) they submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to aid their qualification for the election.
The plaintiffs alleged in the FHC/ABJ/CS/711/2021 action that Soludo stated in his affidavit that he was contesting the Aguata 2 Constituency seat when he was actually contesting the Anambra governorship seat, while his subordinate claimed to be contesting the Awka Constituency seat.
However, Justice Taiwo, who delivered judgment in the case, stated that the litigation was not only superfluous but also a complete waste of the court’s earlier time, adding that lawyers should adequately advise their clients before taking legal action.
The plaintiffs failed to persuade the court that Soludo and his deputy provided incorrect information to INEC in their Form EC9, according to the verdict, and that the plaintiffs did not explain how they were deceived by the information contained in the affidavits of personal particulars.
“I have carefully perused Form EC9 for the third defendant and I can see that the third defendant marked that he was contesting the position of governor.
“He also clearly stated that his constituency is Agwuata 2 Anambra and the name of his political party.
“All other information as to his person are also in his affidavits which was deposed to on the 1st of July 2020,” the judge noted, making a similar observation regarding the fourth defendant.
However, Justice Taiwo was perplexed as to how the plaintiffs were informed that the third and fourth defendants are not running for governor and deputy governor of Anambra State, respectively.
“Were there other elections holding 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 2nd, 3rd and 4th 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.
“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.
“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 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants,” he said.
INEC, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Soludo, and Ibezim were among the defendants in the complaint.