The Court of Appeal Wednesday affirmed Peter Obi as the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February elections.
In a unanimous decision, the appellate court struck out the appeal challenging Mr Obi’s candidacy and awarded N200, 000 each in favour of INEC and the LP.
The court held that the appellant who filed the suit at the lower court had no ‘locus standi’ to institute the action, meaning it had no legal basis to institute the suit.
Justice Ugochukwu Ogakwu who led the three-member panel in the judgment held that the trial court was right in its decision.
The appellant had contended that Mr. Obi was not qualified by the circumstance of his emergence as the candidate of the LP.
The 1st respondent in the suit marked: CA/ABJ/CV/1414/2022I is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) while the second is the Labour Party.
Mr. Obi is the 3rd respondent while the appellant is the Allied Peoples Movement (APM).
The Federal High Court in Abuja had dismissed the suit seeking the disqualification of Peter Obi.
The APM had approached the trial court for an injunction restraining the 1st defendant from acting on or giving effect to, or in any way or manner, dealing with the name of Mr. Obi as the candidate of the LP in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election.
In his judgment, Justice James Omotosho dismissed the suit for the failure of the plaintiff to provide sufficient evidence to grant the request.
The plaintiff, in an originating summons, had sought, among other reliefs, “a declaration that, in view of Section 131(c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
“The 1st defendant’s election timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election, the 1st defendant’s electoral guidelines for the conduct of 2023 political party primary elections and nomination of candidates for election.
“Sections 29(1), 77(2) and (3) of the Electoral Act, 2022, which mandate the 2nd defendant to maintain a register of its members in both hard and soft copy.
“Also to make such register available to the 1st defendant, not later than 30 days before the date fixed for the party’s primaries.
“The 3rd defendant be disqualified from taking part in or otherwise contesting the 2023 presidential election fixed for February 25, 2023.
“Provisions of Section 131 (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended); the 1st defendant’s election timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election.
“The 1st defendant’s electoral guidelines for the conduct of 2023 political party primary elections and nomination of candidates for elections.
“Sections 29(1), 77(2) and (3) of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the fact that the 3rd defendant became a registered member of the 2nd defendant less than 30 days to the party’s presidential primary election.
“This was held on May 30, 2022, the 3rd defendant, herein, is disqualified and ineligible to contest the 2023 presidential elections as the candidate or flag bearer of the 2nd defendant.”
Dissatisfied with the judgment, the party headed to the appeal court.
The appeal court ruled that the lower court was right and struck the appeal.