NRM Candidacy: High Court dismisses suit filed against INEC
Salihu Ali, Abuja
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has struck out a suit filed by Mazi Okwudili Nwa-Anyajike against the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over the removal of his name as candidate of the National Rescue Movement, NRM in the 2023 Presidential Election.
Speaking to journalists after the judgement, the National Publicity Secretary of the NRM, Iliyasu Samila Adamu, said the decision of Justice Evelyn Maha, who struck out the suit because it was filed out of time, shocked the party.
Adamu said, “On July 13, our presidential candidate wrote a letter to INEC about the forgery the defendants are accused of.
“The so-called National Chairman of the party, Ambassador Isaac Ude, was expelled. Therefore, he has no jurisdiction to act in the name of the NRM.” Adamu revealed that the party would appeal the court judgement.
In a suit filed on July 29, Nwa-Anyajike asked the court to compel INEC to recognise him as the authentic presidential candidate of the NRM, having emerged victorious in the presidential primaries held on June 2, 2022.
Also mentioned in the suit is Felix Osakwe, the 2nd defendant.
At the party primaries, Mr. Nwa-Anyajike polled 180 votes to defeat his closest rival, Professor Benedicta Egbo, who scored 30, while six aspirants stepped down in the contest.
However, in the final list of presidential candidates, INEC published Johnson Osakwe as the party’s presidential candidate instead of Nwa-Anyajike.
In a letter dated July 13 and sent to INEC, the plaintiff alleged a plot by some persons in the party to forge his withdrawal letter, remove his name as candidate of the party and replace him with another candidate.
He sued the electoral umpire on July 29, challenging his removal as the party’s candidate.
In a judgement, Justice Evelyn Maha acknowledged the letter written by the plaintiff but held that the corresponding suit should have come within 14 days of the letter written to INEC.
Also reacting to the judgement, Nwa-Anyajike, in a statement made available to our Correspondent, expressed his disappointment with the judgement.
“We will appeal the case in the higher court as soon as possible; I believe the justice will be done and redress,” Nwa-Anyajike said.