A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed the suit challenging the nomination of Senator Ken Nnamani as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Enugu East senatorial seat.
Justice Inyang Ekwo who delivered the judgment, Wednesday, upheld the preliminary objections raised by Nnamani to the effect that the suit is status barred.
In a pre-election suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1574/2018, the plaintiff, Lawrence Ezeh, a candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) sought an order restraining Nnamani from further parading or holding himself as the People Democratic Party (PDP) Senatorial Candidate for Enugu East.
The case of the plaintiff is that Nnamani who contested the election on the platform of the PDP did not physically appear before the Commissioner of oaths to depose to Form CF001 known as Independent National Electoral Commission Affidavit in support of person seeking election to the office/membership of senate.
In addition, the suit filed by his counsel, Frank Ikpe, the plaintiff further prayed the court for an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) (2nd Defendant) to stop further parading or holding Nnamani as the PDP Senatorial Candidate for Enugu East.
Meanwhile, both Nnamani and the INEC filed their motions challenging the competence of the suit as well as the jurisdiction of the court to adjudicate on the matter.
While the former governor was represented in court by Obina Onya, Tobechukwu Nweke appeared in court on behalf of the electoral body.
In his judgment, Justice Ekwo held that the suit was instituted 60 days after the cause of action arose which is far beyond the constitutional period of 14 days.
“Section 285 (9) of the 1999 constitution, (4th Alteration Act, 2017), is clear and unambiguous and the court have no reason not to follow.
“It makes it mandatory for pre-election matters to be filed within 14 days. The duty of the court is to interpret the constitution as it is. The time does not stop running once the a cause of action has taken place.
“The argument of the plaintiff counsel that the cause of action arose when the INEC published the list on December 6, 2018 seems to suggest that time stopped to run when the 1st defendant filed and submitted his documents to INEC. This is far from the law.
“The question is when did the cause of action accrue to the plaintiff in this case?
“I have done my calculations and have arrived at the conclusion that the cause of action arose when the 1st defendant submitted his documents to INEC and not when the list was published.
‘The plaintiff ought to have filed this suit earlier than the day it was filed. This suit is statute barred and I so hold. The consequence of this is that it diminished the locus standing and jurisdiction of this court.
“On the whole, I find that this suit bus statute barred and I make an order dismissing the suit,” the Judge held.