The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, dismissed a suit seeking to stop the All Progressives Congress (APC) from adopting indirect primaries for nominating its candidate for the forthcoming November 16 governorship election in Kogi.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who upheld the preliminary objections filed by the APC to challenge the suit, ruled that the suit had been caught by the statute of limitation.
The suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/883/2019 was instituted by Destiny Aromeh, Isah Abubakar, Noah Aku and Joy Onu, who are members of a parallel executive committee of the APC in the state.
The APC was the sole defendant in the case.
The plaintiffs, who were represented by their Counsel, Oluwole Aladedoye, had urged the court to order the party not to adopt indirect primary mode to pave the way for a direct primary which would allow all card-carrying members of the party to vote.
They said if the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party was not stopped, the party would go ahead to adopt indirect system and they might be “shut out” and not allowed to vote as delegates at the primary.
Aladedoye noted that the NWC of the party adopted the indirect primary mode for Kogi election in disregard to a pending suit on the disputed leadership of the party in the state.
Delivering the judgment. Justice Taiwo said it was needless to go into the proprietary of the party’s choice of indirect primary since the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case on merit having been statute-barred.
He held that the suit was a pre-election matter which ought to have been heard and determined within 180 days as provided by section 285(10) of the Nigerian Constitution.
According to the judge, although the suit was filed only on July 18, 2019, it was clearly premised on another one marked FHC/ABJ/CS/833/2019 which instead of being determined within 180 days was only ruled upon on Monday.
He said the Monday’s earlier judgment came over 460 days after the case was filed.
The judge, on the grounds of statute limitation, in the earlier judgment, dismissed the said foundational suit which was instituted by the Chairman and Secretary of a parallel executive committee of the APC in the state, Haddy Ametuo, and Tam Adejoh, respectively.
The said foundational suit was instituted against the APC and Abdullahi Bello, who is the Chairman of the Governor Yahaya Bello-backed faction of the party in the state.
The Bello-led faction of the APC in the state is recognised by the national bodies of the party.
The APC, which opposed the two suits ruled upon by the court on Monday, was represented by Paul Daudu.
O the suit challenging the APC’s adopted mode of primary election in the state, Justice Taiwo said: “I do not intend to waste judicial time on this suit FHC/ABJ/CS/883/2019 in view of the ruling on the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/581/2018 read a few minutes ago, dismissing the suit for being caught by statute of limitation as provided under section 285(10) of the Constitution.”
He ruled that “it will be pointless to consider the proprietary of this suit”, when its foundational suit had been dismissed.
“The court not being an academic institution does not engage in academic exercise,” he said.
He added that the suit had been spent “and its resolution has become unnecessary in view of my earlier judgment.
“Answering the questions will bear no consequence on the dispute between the parties.
“I therefore have no choice other than to dismiss the suit in its entirety and I accordingly dismiss it.”