The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, fixed June 27 for hearing of a suit challenging the campaign funding of President Muhammadu Buhari and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.
The suit was filed by the presidential candidate of the National Rescue Movement (NRM), Usman Ibrahim Alhaji.
Cited as defendants in the suit are Buhari and his party, All Progressives Congress (APC); Atiku and his party, the PDP, as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/191/2019, the plaintiff wants the court to nullify the participation of Buhari and Atiku in the February 23 presidential poll because they spent more than provided for by the Electoral Act in their campaigns.
The plaintiff through his counsel, Ezekiel Ofou, is also praying the court to invoke Section 91(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010, to nullify the participation of Buhari and Atiku in the poll for allegedly violating the electoral laws.
When the matter came up yesterday, Gbenga Benson announced appearance for Buhari and APC, while there was no legal representation for Atiku, PDP and INEC – third, fourth and fifth defendants, respectively.
The plaintiff’s counsel, Ofou, informed the court that the matter was slated for further hearing, adding that all parties have been properly and duly served with relevant processes.
He recalled that when the matter came up on March 26, the first and second defendants (Buhari and APC) said they were just served on March 22 and on account of that, the matter was adjourned for further hearing.
Consequently, Ofou said: “Pursuant to Order 8 Rule 1 of the Federal High Court Rules, I urge the court to deem this matter mentioned.”
He also prayed the trial judge, Justice A R Mohammed, to fix the matter for hearing.
Counsel for Buhari and APC did not raise any objection to the plaintiff’s application.
The court later fixed June 27, for hearing of the suit, and further directed that hearing notices be served on Atiku, PDP and INEC, who are co-defendants.
Specifically, the plaintiff is praying the court to set aside the participation of Buhari and Atiku on the ground that they spent more than N1 billion each as campaign expenses.
He claimed that by spending more than N1 billion each, Buhari and Atiku violated the electoral law and are liable to be removed as contestants in the election.