A Federal High Court in Abuja has resolved to hear a suit seeking the disqualification of the governorship and deputy-governorship candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Ganyu Abudu Audu.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in a ruling on Monday, fixed hearing for August 24 his year in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/758/2020 filed by Hon. Momoh Abdul-Razak and Hon. Zibiri Marvellous Muhizu.
Justice Taiwo, after listening to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Sir Friday Nwosu, also ordered substituted service of court processes on the 3rd and 4th defendants, Audu and Ize-Iyamu, by having the court’s documents pasted on the gate of their known addresses and proof of service filed in court.
Listed as the 1st and 2nd defendants in the suit are the APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
It is the plaintiffs’ contention that Audu altered his names in the credentials and other personal documents he submitted to INEC in aid of his qualification for the governorship poll slated for September 19, 2020.
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The plaintiffs want the court to disqualify Audu from participating in the election on the grounds that he allegedly gave false information to INEC about his academic qualification and his true identity. They also accused him of engaging in perjury.
They also want the court to void the nomination of Ize-Iyamu as APC’s governorship candidate on the grounds that he was contesting with an allegedly unqualified deputy.
In addition, they prayed the court for another order restraining the APC from contesting the September 19 governorship upon the disqualification of the 3rd and 4th defendants.
In a 41 paragraph affidavit deposed to in support of the suit, the plaintiffs averred that Audu contravened provisions of the electoral laws by providing false information and lying on oath in his form CF 001 he submitted to INEC in support of his qualification for the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.
Abdul-Razak, who deposed to the affidavit, said: “there are several irrevocable different and false information given by the 3rd defendant about himself which cannot be true in his 2020 INEC form EC-9.
“That I know as a fact that both the alleged name Audu Abudu Ganiyu in his 2020 form EC-9, Audu Abudu Ganiyu in the WAEC (GCE) of December 1983, Audu Gani on the APC card No: 0054243, are not the name of the 3rd defendant as fully and definitely confirmed by the statutory declaration of age (exhibit 6A) that accompanied 3rd defendant’s 2019 form CF 001 personally deposed to by the 3rd defendant at the Registry of the Chief Magistrate Court, Yaba Lagos State on 24/5/1996"
Abdul-Razak further claimed that the deputy governorship candidate, who is a serving member of the Edo State House of Assembly representing Etsako West Constituency submitted a different name to INEC in 2020 from what he submitted in his 2015 and 2019 CF 001 forms.
He stated that the 3rd defendant had no time in the various certificates paraded by him, attached any change of name to prove the names belong to him.
The plaintiffs accused Audu of superimposing the letter ‘A” on the testimonial issued by a state authority or institution to read from originally Audu Ganiyu to Audu “A” Ganiyu which he presented the same to INEC in aid of his qualification for the election.
At the mention of the case on Monday, Nwosu told the court that while both the APC and INEC had been served, the 3rd and 4th defendants (Audu and Ize-Iyamu) have not been served.
Nwosu said he filed an application for substituted service to enable the plaintiffs bring the existence of the case to the attention of the two remaining defendants.
Lawyer to the APC, Ehiogie West-Idahosa, agreed that his client had indeed been served. INEC was not represented.
Justice Taiwo ruled, granted Nwosu’s application, and ordered that the court processes, including the hearing notice be pasted on the Benin City residents of the 3rd and 4th defendants.
The judge abridged time to 14 days within which the defendants are to file their responses to all the processes and serve the plaintiffs on time to enable them to react.
He subsequently adjourned till August 24 for hearing in the substantive suit.