Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed June 27, 2019 for hearing of a suit over the campaign funding of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
The suit was filed by the presidential candidate of the National Rescue Movement, Usman Ibrahim Alhaji.
Defendants in the suit are Buhari (1st), APC (2nd), Atiku (3rd), PDP (4th) and INEC (5th).
By the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/191/2019, the plaintiff wants the court to nullify the participation of Buhari and Atiku in February 23, 2019 presidential poll, because they spent more than provided for by the Electoral Act in their campaigns.
The suit was filed on behalf of the plaintiff by his lawyer, Ezekiel Ofou, who urged the court invoke Section 91(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010 to nullify the participation of Buhari and Atiku in the poll for allegedly violating the electoral laws.
At a resumed sitting on Tuesday, Gbenga Benson announced appearance for Buhari (1st), and APC (2nd) defendants.
There was no legal representation for Atiku, PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants respectively.
The plaintiff’s counsel, Ofou, informed the court that the matter was slated for further hearing, adding that all parties had been properly and duly served with relevant processes.
Ofou recalled that when the matter came up on March 26, the 1st and 2nd defendants were just served on March 22; on account of that, the matter was adjourned for further hearing.
Consequently, Ofou said: “Pursuant to Order 8 Rule 1 of the Federal High Court Rules, I urge the court to deem this matter mentioned.”
The plaintiff’s counsel therefore prayed Justice Mohammed to slate the matter for hearing, while counsel for the 1st and 2nd defendants did not raise any objection to the plaintiff’s application.
In view of the foregoing, the court fixed June 27, for hearing of the suit, and further directed that hearing notices be served on the 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants.
Specifically, the plaintiff prayed the court to set aside the participation of Buhari and Atiku on the ground that they spent more than one billion Naira each as campaign expenses.
The plaintiff claimed that by spending more than N1 billion each, Buhari and Atiku had violated the electoral law and are liable to be removed as contestants in the election.