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Court dismisses suit against Nnamani’s election

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Chimaroke Nnamani

The bid by the senator representing Enugu East, Gilbert Nnaji, to upturn the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the zone won by former governor Chimaroke Nnamani hit the rocks yesterday as the court has dismissed his case.

Nnaji, who came fourth at the primary held in October last year, approached an Abuja Federal High Court asking that his name be submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the party’s candidate for the Senatorial District.

He claimed through his counsel, Onyinye Mbanefo, that Nnamani was not present during the party’s screening of candidates and as such was not qualified to stand for the primary elections.

He further claimed that he came second in the election and was the rightful candidate.

The case was later transferred to the Enugu Federal High Court on the order of the Chief Judge of the court.

Nnamani’s counsel, Chijioke Anyigbo, had in his defence, among other things, told the court that the suit was statute barred, arguing that the course of action should have arisen after the PDP screening which the plaintiff (Nnaji) claimed Nnamani did not attend.

However, there was also drama midway into the suit as another aspirant, Mr. Chinedu Nneji, indicated interest to be joined in the matter. Nneji, who came second, prayed the court to declare him as the rightful candidate of the party in the event of Nnamani’s disqualification.

Delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Buba Mohammed said Nnaji appeared in person to give testimony where he claimed to have come second in the PDP primary. He, however, held that having failed to institute the action within the period as provided by the law, the matter was dead.

While agreeing that the issue of jurisdiction was clearly raised by the defendant, the court held that the suit was statute barred and should be dismissed, adding: “Head or tail, night or day, the case of the plaintiff is statute barred. In that case, the only thing the court could do is that of dismissal,” he held.

He added: “The plaintiff cannot cry wolf where there was none. This is a plaintiff who chose to file his case in Abuja; he started on a wrong footing.


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