By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
Following the withdrawal from the Presidential race, Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja has struck out a suit by the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele against the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The court held that Emefiele had the right to file the notice of withdrawal, adding that the notice of discontinuance was valid.
At a resumed sitting, yesterday, Emefiele, through his counsel, S. Maliki, informed the trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed about his client’s notice of discontinuance, which he said had been filed and served on the defendants in the matter.
Maliki, holding the brief of Mike Ozekhome SAN, said they had Emefiele’s instruction to withdraw the suit.
“Pursuant to the instruction of the plaintiff (Emefiele), we filed a notice of discontinuance dated and filed May 16, 2022.
“The said notice of discontinuance was served on all the defendants on May 16, 2022, which proof of service is before your lordship,” Maliki said.
The lawyer said all the defendants except the 4th and 5th defendants filed a counter affidavit in response to the plaintiff’s amended originating summons, after the notice of withdrawal had been served on them.
He prayed the court to discontinue the suit and make an order striking it out, since parties did not join issues, citing Order 50 of the rules of the Federal High Court.
Lawyer to the 4th defendant, John Aikpokpo-Martins, opposed Emefiele’s withdrawal notice, and urged the court to dismiss the suit with N1.5 million cost.
But counsel to the 2nd and 3rd defendants, Chris Nevo and T. J. Adi respectively did not object to the withdrawal notice.
Nevo asked the court to award a N1 million cost against Emefiele.
In the originating summon marked FHC/ABJ/CS/610/2022, the CBN Governor among other reliefs prayed the court for
“A declaration that the provisions of secticn 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended), which are inconsistent with the provisions of section 137(1)(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered), which and have been declared so by a court of competent jurisdiction cannot be relied upon by the Defendants to disqualify the plaintiff from contesting an election to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or from contesting or participating in the parties’ primaries, or other convention or congress for election to the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, scheduled for 25th February, 2023.
“A declaration that by the provisions of section 84(3) of the Electoral Act, 2022, a political party cannot by its constitution, guidelines or rules impose any criteria, measures or conditions, nomination, qualification or disqualification criteria, for any aspirant or candidate including the plaintiff herein in its primaries during its convention or congress for nomination of its candidates for election besides those criteria as prescribed under sections 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 177 and 187 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).