Atiku Abubakar Dragged to court for ineligibility to contest for presidency
A constitutional lawyer addressed the court, claiming that Atiku is not constitutionally qualified to run for president.
The Federal High Court in Abuja has scheduled July 20 to hear a new action challenging former Vice President Atiku Abubakar's eligibility to run in the 2023 presidential election.
In a judgement delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, the court ordered substituted serving of all legal proceedings on Atiku in order for him to reply to the claim.
It ordered that the former VP, who is the Peoples Democratic Party's presidential candidate, be served within seven days by publishing the court proceedings in a national daily.
The plaintiff specifically asked the court to rule on whether "under the combined provisions of sections 1(1) & (2), 25, and 131(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), only a Nigeria citizen by birth can contest for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?"
Furthermore, "Whether, by a combined interpretation of sections 1(1) & (2), 25(1) & (2), and 131(a) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitution, 1999 (as amended), and given the circumstances surrounding the 1st Defendant's birth, he can be cleared by the 2nd and 3rd Defendants to contest for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?"
Following the resolution of the questions, the plaintiff requested that the court declare that, under Sections 1(1) and (2), 25, and 131(a) of the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, only a Nigerian citizen by birth is constitutionally eligible to run for President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
A solemn declaration by this Honourable Court that, given the circumstances of the 1st Defendant's birth, he is not legally competent to run for President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
"An order of this Honourable Court disqualifying the first Defendant, Atiku Abubakar, from running for President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria."
"A declaration that the 2nd Defendant (the PDP) does not have a candidate for the post of President in the 3rd Defendant's 2023 Presidential Election."
"An order of this Honourable Court issuing a perpetual injunction prohibiting the 1st Defendant from contesting for or occupying the position of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by whatsoever means and for the rest of his life."
"An order of this Honourable Court prohibiting the 2nd Defendant from fielding or presenting the 1st Defendant as its candidate for the position of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 2023 Presidential election in Nigeria."
Similarly, "an order of permanent injunction prohibiting the 3rd Defendant from accepting or publicizing the name of the 1st Defendant as a candidate of the 2nd Defendant for the position of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the upcoming 2023 Presidential election."
The plaintiff told the court that the first defendant (Atiku) gained his Nigerian citizenship as a result of the 1961 plebiscite that merged certain persons from Northern Cameroon into Nigeria as new citizens of Nigeria.
"On the 28th of May, 2022, the 1st Defendant emerged as the 2nd Defendant's Candidate for the 2023 Presidential election following the 1st Defendant's primary election."
"Allowing the 1st Defendant to run as the 2nd Defendant's candidate in the 2023 Presidential election would be a gross violation of the otherwise sacrosanct and inviolable provisions of Sections 1(1) & (2), 25, and 131(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999." (as amended).
"The third defendant has a bounden obligation to ensure that the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not governed, and that no person or group of persons takes control of the Government of Nigeria or any part of it except in line with the Constitution of Nigeria."
"The Plaintiff is an Apostle of the Rule of Law, a constitutionalist, a social justice crusader, and a defender of the Rule of Law."
"This is a public interest litigation aimed at protecting the sanctity of the constitution as the supreme law of the land (suprema lex), to protect the public interest of seeing that constitutional supremacy as provided for in the constitution itself is enforced, adhered to, and rendered not impotent or mocked," the Plaintiff claimed.
It will be remembered that a constitutional lawyer, Mr. Johnmary Jideobi, approached the court, claiming that Atiku is not constitutionally entitled to run for president.
The Plaintiff, in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/751/2022, offered two legal issues for the court to answer before seeking seven major reliefs from Atiku, the PDP, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, who were named as the first, second, and third defendants in the matter.
The Attorney-General of the Federation was added as a fourth defendant.