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Court fixes judgement date in suit seeking to disqualify Charles Soludo

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Charles Soludo

Federal High Court has fixed the judgement date in the suit seeking to disqualify Charles Soludo.

 

The suit challenging the qualification of Anambra State governor-elect, Prof. Charles Soludo, and deputy governor-elect, Onyeka Ibezim, to contest the state’s last governorship election is set to be heard on November 30 by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

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As Ejes Gist News reports, Justice Taiwo Taiwo set the date after the parties’ lawyers submitted their final submissions.

Adindu Valentine and Egwudike Chukwuebuka, the plaintiffs, claim that Soludo provided false information in his affidavit (Form EC9) to the Independent National Electoral Commission and that he should be disqualified from running for office.

The plaintiffs claimed in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/711/2021 that Soludo stated in his affidavit that he was contesting the Aguata 2 Constituency seat when he was contesting the Anambra governorship seat.

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Soludo, and Ibezim are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers, A. O. Ijeri and Kelvin Okoko, argued in their final submission that by indicating the wrong seat he was contesting, Soludo provided INEC with false information, violated existing legal provisions, and should be disqualified.

“A state is a constituency to the governorship election,” Ijeri explained. “However, in this case, the third defendant (Soludo) named Aguata 2 as the constituency he is contesting.”

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In contrast to the attorneys for the second through fourth defendants, Ijeri argued that his clients had established a cause of action and that the court had jurisdiction to decide the case.

“In a pre-election matter, the date of the occurrence of the event, a decision, or action complained about in the suit by the plaintiff is determined by the provision of Section 285(9) of the Constitution.

Ijeri stated, “There is evidence that INEC received the submitted Form EC9 on July 6, 2021.”

He then asked the court to find the case meritorious and grant the plaintiffs’ requested relief.

Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), a lawyer for APGA and Soludo, argued that the suit was without merit and that the court lacked jurisdiction.

Ikpeazu argued that an affidavit error could not be used to disqualify a candidate from running for office, pointing out that the false information covered by Section 31 of the Electoral Act was criminal.

C. Mbaeri, Ibezim’s lawyer, argued in a similar vein, pleading with the court to uphold his objection and dismiss the case.

INEC’s lawyer, Bashir Abubakar, said his client did not file any legal documents in the case and has chosen to leave the decision to the court’s discretion.

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