Court adjourns suit challenging Atiku’s eligibility to contest presidency till Dec 6

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, adjourned a suit seeking to challenge former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s eligibility to vie for the office of the president until December 6.

Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned the matter following the inability of the parties in the suit to regularise their amended processes to accommodate the fifth defendant (Attorney-General of Adamawa State), who had been joined in the case.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) had, on July 27, reported that the Adamawa State Government, through its Attorney-General, had sought an order of the court to be joined in the suit.

The court, in the motion dated April 26 and filed June 24, granted the prayer of the Attorney-General of Adamawa State to be joined in the case as the fifth defendant.

The group, an Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA), in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019, had sued Atiku, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as first to fourth respondents respectively.

EMA is challenging Atiku’s eligibility to contest for presidency on the grounds that he was not a Nigerian citizen by birth.

The group asked the court to hold, among others, that considering the provisions of sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the constitution and the circumstances surrounding the former vice president’s birth, he cannot contest for the top office.

However, when the matter was mentioned, counsel to EMA, Raphael Oyewole, said though the matter was slated for hearing, he regretted that he had to file a motion for an extension of time because he was yet to serve some of the parties in the suit.

He said the amended application to include the fifth defendant as ordered by the court had been served on the first, fourth, and fifth defendants in the court.

The judge, who was unhappy over the manner the counsel was handling the case, said: “This is a matter you filed since 2019, and you are just filing your application this morning after the last adjournment.”

J.O. Makinde, Chris Nevo, and Alex Shija, who are lawyers to the first, fourth, and fifth defendants respectively, confirmed that they were all served with the plaintiff’s application in the morning.

But they did not oppose Oyewole from moving the motion.

Also, counsel to Atiku, Mr Makinde, prayed for an extension of time to enable him regularise his processes.

Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter till December 6 for further mention.

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