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Court dismisses PDP suit seeking Gov Abdulrazaq, APC’s disqualification

On Thursday, the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court dismissed a Peoples Democratic Party’s suit seeking the disqualification of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara and All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 11 governorship election.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, held that the suit was an abuse of the court process.

In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1324/2022, the PDP sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Abdulrazaq and APC as first to third respondents, respectively.

The PDP had asked the court to declare that Mr Abdulrazaq’s West African Examination Council (WAEC) School Certificate attached to his affidavit in support of his personal particulars, which bears the name ‘RAZAQ A. R.’ did not belong to him, “whose name as shown in FORM EC 9 is ‘ABDULRAHMAN ABDULRAZAQ’.

The party claimed that the WAEC certificate was forged and presented by the APC to INEC to aid Abdulrazaq’s educational qualification as provided in Section 177 (d) of 1999 (as amended).

The PDP, therefore, sought an order disqualifying Abdulrazaq and APC from participating in the Kwara governorship poll, among others. But the duo opposed the PDP’s application, urging the court to dismiss the suit for constituting an abuse of the court process.

They argued that the PDP lacked the locus standi to institute the action, having not been a contestant nor a party member, among others. Delivering the judgment, Mr Ekwo agreed with the second and third respondents (Mr Abdulrazaq and APC) that the PDP had no locus standi (legal right) to file the matter.

According to him, the court has no jurisdiction where there is no locus. He said the court found the action incompetent for lack of locus standi. Mr Ekwo held that that matter bordered on the internal affairs of the APC, in which the PDP lacked the locus to file the case.

On the argument about non-disclosure of the cause of action against the respondents, the judge said there was a nexus between locus standi and a cause of action. He said since the PDP had no locus standi, it did not have any cause of action against the respondents.

The judge also agreed with the respondents that the suit was an abuse of the court process.

“It is expressed in the provision of Section 29 (5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 that the right of action on the matter for which the applicant/respondent (PDP) has filed this action is given to ‘any aspirant who participated in the primaries of his political party’,” the judge stated. “This court has also previously found on the first leg of objection of the 2nd respondent/applicant that the applicant/respondent (PDP) is not an ‘aspirant’ of the third respondent.” 

He added, “This court has also found that the provision of Section 285 (14) (c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) also relied upon by the applicant/respondent (PDP) in this cause does not avail. The summation of this is that there is no iota of law which support this action. It is on this ground that I find that this case is an abuse of process and I so hold.” 

According to him, when a court finds that a suit filed by a party amounts to an abuse of the process of the court, it has to dismiss it to put a final stop, at least as far as that court is concerned, to the abuse of its process.

He, consequently, dismissed the suit for constituting an abuse of the court process.

(NAN)

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