Journalism of Courage

2023 Presidency: Hurdle cleared for Atiku as court dismisses suit challenging his Nigerian citizenship, eligibility

...judge blasts plaintiff as busy body who lacks locus standi

 

 

The coast is now clear for former Vice- President Atiku Abubakar to contest the presidential poll in 2023 as a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday struck out a suit seeking to disqualify him.

The court, in a judgment delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, struck out the eligibility suit for want of merit.

Persecondnews recalls that the suit no. FHC/ABJ/CS/177 filed by lncorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa, had challenged Atiku’s eligibility on the premise that he is not a Nigerian by birth.

He had served as Vice-President in the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007.

Abubakar served in the Nigeria Customs Service for about 20 years, and retired in 1989 as the Deputy Director, the second highest position in the Service then (equivalent of Deputy Controller-General) before his foray into business and politics.

In its judgment, the court held that the Plaintiff, described as “busy body”, lacked the locus standi to institute the action.

Ekwo said since the Plaintiff lacked the locus standi, “the court, therefore, lacked the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the case”.

He ruled that the reliefs the Plaintiff sought was outside the scope of its registration as a Non-Governmental Organization.

The Plaintiff had in the suitburged the court to determine among others: “Whether section 25 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), is the sole authority that spells out ways by which a person can become a Nigerian citizen by birth?

“Whether by the provisions of section 131(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), only a Nigeria citizen by birth can contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?

“Whether by the combined interpretation of section 25(1) & (2) and 131(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and giving the circumstances surrounding the birth of the 1st Defendant (Atiku), he can be cleared by the 2nd and 3rd Defendants to contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?”

The Plaintiff also wanted a declaration that by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, only a Nigerian citizen by birth can contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It urged the court to declare that given the circumstances surrounding Atiku’s birth, he cannot be cleared by either PDP or the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to vie for Presidency.

 

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