A Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja has dismissed a suit filed by the Speaker, Kolawole Matthew, seeking to be recognized as the House of Representatives candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency in the 2023 general elections.
Justice Peter H. Mallong, in his ruling on Thursday, said the electoral umpire is entitled to set timeline for all his activities.
Justice Mallong said once the timeline is passed, the court cannot force the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend the date as such is the discretion of the electoral body.
The judge ruled that the court cannot compel INEC to open its portal and accept Kolawole’s candidacy.
Kolawole name was missing when the electoral umpire released the list of candidates of each parties after the primary elections.
Recall that the Speaker in the suit marked FHC/LKJ/CS/35/2022 and filed on June 28 by his lawyer, M.Y. Abdullahi, had sought an order of the court mandating INEC to unconditionally accept and publish his name as the duly sponsored candidate of APC for Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency towards the 2023 general elections.
The suit listed INEC and APC as first and second defendants respectively.
In the originating summons, Kolawole explained that he won the May 27, 2022 APC primary election, having polled the highest lawful votes cast.
Kolawole explained that while the party, APC, tried to upload relevant details of his particulars but failed because of network issues on INEC portal.
“That upon discovery of the rejection of my name by the 1st defendant’s portal, I made several attempt to persuade the 2nd Defendant to keep the effort on in uploading my personal details but I was made to understand that the problem is from the 1st Defendant’s portal.
“On the 24th day of June, 2022 the 1st Defendant published the names of sponsored candidate of the 2nd Defendant for the 2023 general elections in Nigeria and and the space for Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency is empty because the 1st Defendant’s online portal failed to allow the upload of my personal details.”
He had also been running from pillar to post especially the APC National Headquarters to get help but to no avail.