Campaign funding suit: Atiku, INEC shun court

•Hearing fixed for Oct 3

A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Thursday, adjourned the hearing of a suit challenging the campaign funding of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar prior to the 2019 general elections to October 3.
The suit was filed by the presidential candidate of the National Rescue Movement, Usman Ibrahim Alhaji.
President Buhari is the 1st defendant in the suit, while APC, Atiku, PDP and INEC are 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants in that order.
The suit was filed on behalf of the plaintiff by his lawyer, Ezekiel Ofou, who urged the court to invoke Section 91(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010, to nullify the participation of Buhari and Atiku in the poll for allegedly violating electoral laws.
At a resumed sitting, as usual, there was no legal representation for Atiku Abubakar, the PDP and INEC.
Hearing of the matter could not go on, because the plaintiff’s counsel, Everest Ofou had informed the court that since the matter was filed, “none of the defendants has filed memoranda of appearance and response to the originating summons”.
That notwithstanding, Ofou told the court that Gbenga Benson, counsel to the 1st and 2nd defendants also served on him a motion on notice (preliminary objection) and counter affidavit while in court, Thursday morning.
On his part, Benson told Justice Mohammed that, “since inception of the suit, I have not been able to serve the 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants with my motion”.
He, therefore, requested for a short adjournment to enable him to serve the defendants.
The plaintiff did not oppose the request for an adjournment and the court consequently adjourned the matter to October 3, for the hearing of the 1st and 2nd defendant’s motion on notice.
By the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/191/2019, the plaintiff wants 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 one billion Naira each, Buhari and Atiku had violated the electoral law and are liable to be removed as contestants in the election.
The plaintiff wants, amongst other reliefs, a declaration that the 1st and 3rd Defendants have brazenly and flagrantly violated the provisions of Section 91 (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as Amended), having exceeded the maximum legally allowable N1,000,000,000.00 election expenditure for presidential candidates, taking into cognizance, the excessive, profligate and continuous extravagant presidential campaigns of the 1st and 3rd Defendants since their emergence as presidential candidates of their respective political parties.
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