On Tuesday, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish the name of Mr. Hassan Abdullahi as the bonafide candidate of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) for the Kogi governorship election scheduled for November 11.
Justice James Omotosho, delivering the judgment, stated that Abdullahi, who had obtained the highest lawful votes in the party’s primary poll held on April 16 and monitored by INEC, should have had his name uploaded and published on the commission’s portal as a candidate for the upcoming election.
Justice Omotosho ruled that the substitution of Abdullahi’s name with that of Mr. Musa Mubarak violated Sections 84(1) and 84(5)(b) (I) and (ii) of the Electoral Act, 2022, as well as Article 34 of the Constitution of the NNPP and the guidelines for conducting primaries for off-season gubernatorial elections.
The judge also declared any other primary election conducted apart from the April 16 poll as unlawful and unconstitutional.
He dismissed the preliminary objection raised by the first and second defendants, stating that the lawsuit was not statute-barred as it was filed within the 14-day period provided by the law.
Abdullahi, through his lawyer Mustapha Ibrahim, SAN, had filed the lawsuit against the NNPP, Musa Salihu Mubarak, and INEC as the first to third defendants. In the suit, he sought an order compelling the NNPP to withdraw Mubarak’s name and submit his own name to INEC as the party’s candidate for the forthcoming election. He also requested an order for INEC to remove Mubarak’s name as the NNPP candidate from its portal and reinstate his name as the valid candidate of the party.
Speaking to journalists after the judgment, Abdullahi expressed his elation, stating that justice had been served. He added that his next step would be to reconcile with all aggrieved members in order to secure victory in the November 11 poll.
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