By Amos Aar
THE Federal High Court sitting in Abuja presided by Honourable Justice A.R Mohamed on Tuesday reportedly struck out the suit filed by former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Michael Kaase Aondoakaa, SAN, challenging the nomination of Rev. Father Hyacinth Iormem Alia as the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State.
The former AGF prayed the Federal High Court to nullify APC’s primary election that produced Rev. Alia as the Gubernatorial candidate of the party.
Aondoakaa approached the Court with an argument that Rev. Fr Alia is not a member of the APC. He, among other arguments, also averred that as an ordained priest of the Holy Roman Catholic Church within Gboko Diocese, Fr Alia was not qualified to contest for the office of a governor of a state.
The plaintiff was said to have written to the APC and INEC, challenging the swift turn from APC’s indirect mode of primaries to a direct mode which he argued did not accord him an equal opportunity as required by the electoral Act.
The former Minister of Justice also contended that the APC could only conduct a valid primary by indirect mode based on delegate nomination list that was submitted to INEC by the APC.
Responding to the suit, APC and Rev. Alia’s legal team led by Mathew Bukaa, SAN and S. I. Ameh SAN both filed notices of preliminary objection challenging the competence of the suit.
Fr. Alia and the APC averred that the cause of action in the case was no longer enforceable (statute barred) by 3 days before it was filed. They further argued that since the plaintiff by his own affidavit and Exhibit attached became aware of the change in the mode of primaries and even wrote a complaint, his cause of action arose when he became aware and complained.
Consequent upon the submission of APC and Rev. Alia’s legal team, the Court agreed with them and held that in computing the time for purposes of pre-election matters, the date of event is reckoned with.
The judge held that going by the date the plaintiff became aware of the cause of action and wrote a complaint, his suit was filed on the 16th day of the event, 2 days after the prescribed 14 days by the Constitution.
The judge held that delving into the merit of the suit will be of no moment since the court in the circumstance lack the jurisdiction to hear the case and the matter was accordingly struck out.