A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday declined the request to include caretaker chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governor Mai Mala Buni as a defendant in a suit challenging the emergence of Andy Uba as the party’s candidate in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.
A governorship aspirant, Chief (Dr.) George Moghalu, had made the request in the suit he filed marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/648/2021, in which he is contending that the APC did not comply with the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 and the party’s regulations and guidelines in the conduct of its governorship primary in Anambra State on June 26, 2021.
In a ruling on Thursday, Justice Ahmed Mohammed held that the plaintiff’ request to join Buni as a party to the suit was without merit, because the APC acting Chairman is not a necessary party.
Justice Mohammed, who noted that the plaintiff made no complaint against Buni in the suit, said he went through all the documents filed by the plaintiff but found that Buni did not play any role in the primary being challenged by Moghalu.
The judge held that where there is no complaint made against a person or an entity in a suit, there is no need to join such a person or entity in the suit.
He said the suit by Moghalu could be effectively determined without him being joined as a party.
Existing defendants in the suit are the APC, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Uba.
In the substantive suit, Moghalu wants the court to among others, determine whether a political party that fails to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act (2010) the party’s constitution and its guidelines, by purporting to conduct a primary election without accreditation of voters, actual voting or casting of votes, collation of votes and announcement of results based on actual votes cast and counted, can validly field a candidate for the election.
He wants the court to declare that, by virtue of the APC’s alleged non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 and the party’s regulations and guidelines in the conduct of its primary in Anambra State, Uba “is not a candidate at the said 6th November 2021 gubernatorial election or at any subsequent postponement.”
The plaintiff equally wants the court to declare that the APC was bound to comply with all the relevant legal provisions in the conduct of its primary election after having demanded and received N22.5million from him and other 13 aspirants.
He is praying the court to among others, declare that having allegedly failed to comply with the relevant applicable laws, the APC has no candidate for the forthcoming governorship election; and to order the party to refund the N22.5million he paid for the expression of interest and nomination forms.
Mohalu also wants the court to grant a perpetual injunction to restrain Uba from holding himself out or parading himself as the candidate of the APC in the said election; and an order of mandatory injunction compelling INEC to delist the APC and Uba from the list of political parties and candidates for the election.