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Court dismisses suit seeking Soludo’s disqualification as Anambra governor-elect

By Ameh Ochojila (Abuja), Uzoma Nzeagwu and Osiberoha Osibe (Awka)
02 December 2021   |   4:08 am
A Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, dismissed a suit seeking disqualification of former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, as Anambra State governor-elect.

APC, 10 political parties challenge guber election outcome
A Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, dismissed a suit seeking disqualification of former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, as Anambra State governor-elect.

Delivering judgment in the suit instituted by Adindu Valentine and Chukwuebuka Egwudike, Justice Taiwo Oladipupo Taiwo, described the suit as “frivolous, irritating, baseless and lacking merit.”

Taiwo accused the plaintiffs of seeking to use the court to scuttle democracy and awarded N2 million against them to be paid to Soludo and Deputy Governor-elect, Onyeka Ibezim.

The plaintiffs had argued that Soludo gave false information in the affidavit (Form EC9) he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and should, therefore, be disqualified from contesting the governorship position.

In the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/711/2021, the plaintiffs claimed that Soludo indicated that he was contesting the Aguata Two Constituency seat when he was contesting the Anambra governorship seat, while Ibezim claim

They included INEC, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Soludo and Ibezim as defendants in the ase.

In their final submission, counsel for the plaintiffs, A. O. Ijeri and Kelvin Okoko, argued that having indicated the wrong constituency he was contesting, Soludo supplied INEC false information, violated legal provisions and ought to be disqualified.

“The constitution has made a state a constituency in relation to the governorship election, but in this case, Soludo named Aguata Two as the constituency he was contesting,” Ijeri said.

But in his ruling, Taiwo held that the plaintiffs failed to establish how the alleged wrong information affected or misled them as voters and in any other capacity.

He said apart from the alleged wrong disclosure of constituency, Soludo (third defendant), clarified on oath that he was contesting Anambra governorship election in his affidavit, while Ibezim (fourth defendant) also indicated that he was contesting the deputy governorship seat.

“From the processes filed in the suit, which I have carefully scrutinised, the plaintiffs failed to convince the court how the purported false information misled them during the poll.

Lead counsel for APGA and Soludo, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), argued that the suit lacked merit and that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear it.

MEANWHILE, the All Progressives Congress (APC), 10 other political parties and their candidates have filed their petitions at the Election Petition Tribunal challenging the outcome of the Anambra gubernatorial elections.

The APC candidate in the last November 6, 2021 poll, Andy Uba approached the tribunal to declare him the winner claiming that he won majority of valid votes cast in the election.

The Action Democratic Party (ADP); Accord Party (AP), the United Patriots, Green Party and the Action Peoples Party (APP), among others, presented their petitions at the tribunal.