Vote buying: Buhari’s ex-minister loses bid to get Tinubu disqualified


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A former Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, has lost his bid to nullify the election of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC).

This is as Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja dismissed the suit filed by the ex-minister and the incorporated trustees of Rights for All International (RAI), a non-governmental organisation.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/942/2022, the plaintiffs prayed the court to nullify Tinubu’s candidacy on the grounds of corruption.

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The plaintiffs through their lawyer, Okere Nnamdi, argued that the presidential primary that produced the APC flagbearer was marred by widespread vote buying, adding that the majority of delegates were induced with dollars.

The suit also sought the nullification of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s election as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the same grounds.

Other defendants in the suit are the APC, PDP, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Nwajiuba, a chieftain of the APC and one of its presidential aspirants, had secured leave of the court to sue both his party’s presidential flagbearer, Tinubu, and that of the PDP, Atiku.

To strengthen his allegation of vote buying against the Tinubu and Atiku, the ex-minister, who polled only one vote at the APC primary election held on June 8, included in his proof of evidence a video recording showing second-placed Rotimi Amaechi, decrying that delegates at the APC primary sold their votes.

The plaintiffs also queried Tinubu’s source of income and his educational qualifications.

However, Justice Ekwo ruled on Thursday that his court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter on the grounds that the plaintiffs did not have the locus standi to institute the suit.

The judge also berated RAI for abandoning its charitable purposes to dabble in partisan politics.

“It is only in this country that an association registered for charitable purposes will venture into partisan politics with such audacious sense of impunity.

“At this time in the political journey of this country, politics and political activities must be left to those who are authorised by law to do so.

“This action by the first plaintiff (RAI) is an outrageous act and an aberration to all known principles of the law of associations. In short, it is the height of lawlessness and ought to be stopped forthwith.

“Associations registered under Part F of the CAMA 2020 must understand the limits of their operations under the law. Where they fail to do so, the legal sanctions will apply,” Justice Ekwo said.

The judge subsequently ordered the dissolution of the NGO and directed the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to take over the group in accordance with the provisions of the law on the dissolution of bodies registered pursuant to Part F of the CAMA 2020.

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