Enugu East: Court dismisses Senator Nnaji's case against Nnamani

By Tony Edike on 05/04/2019

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Senator Dr Chimaroke Nnamani
Senator Dr Chimaroke Nnamani

The Federal High Court sitting in Enugu,  on Friday, dismissed the suit instituted by outgoing  Senator Gilbert Nnaji challenging the election of Senator Dr Chimaroke Nnamani as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for Enugu East Senatorial District.

Nnaji, who sought to upturn the ticket given to the former  governor, was beaten to fourth position  in the senatorial primary election conducted at Agbani last year. 

He approached the Federal High Court Abuja in October last year, asking that his name be submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as the PDP candidate for the Senatorial District.

In the suit, Nnaji, however, claimed through his counsel claimed that Nnamani was not present during the PDP screening of candidates and as such was not qualified to stand for the primary elections.

He further claimed that he came second in the election and was the rightful candidate.

The case was later transferred to Enugu on the order of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.

Counsel to Nnamani, Barr. C Anyigbo, in his defence, among other things, told the court that the suit was statute barred.

He argued that the plaintiff had no case whatsoever as the defendant met all the requirements contained in the PDP guideline, urging the court to dismiss the case more so as it was brought out of time.  

There was also drama midway into the suit as another aspirant, Mr. Chinedu Nneji indicated interest to be joined in the matter. Nneji, who came second prayed the court that in the event of Nnamani’s disqualification, he should be declared the rightful candidate of the party.

Delivering judgement, Justice Buba Mohammed said Nnaji appeared in person to give testimony where he claimed to have come second in the PDP primary.

He, however, held that having failed to institute the action within the period as provided by the law, the matter was dead.

While agreeing that the issue of jurisdiction was clearly raised by the defendant, the court held that the suit was statute barred and should be dismissed.

“Head or tail, night or day, the case of the plaintiff is statute barred, in that case, the only thing the court could do is that of dismissal,” he held.

“The plaintiff cannot cry wolf where there was none, this is a plaintiff who chose to file his case in Abuja, he started on a wrong footing, this court will not on the altar of speed, sacrifice justice.

“This court is of the firm view that the plaintiff is a speculator, sleepwalking. From every assessment, the plaintiff cannot prove his case

“Issue resolved against the plaintiff, lacked merit, speculative and is hereby dismissed,” the court further ordered.

On the counterclaims by the 5th defendant, Nneji, the court described him as “a habitual latecomer, more or less a scavenger waiting for the spoils of war.”

He accordingly dismissed his counterclaims for also being statute barred.

Justice Mohammed made no order as to cost. 

Posted 05/04/2019 5:20 PM

 

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