A lawyer, Johnmary Jideobi has filed a suit before a Federal High Court in Abuja challenging the eligibility of Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to contest the 2023 presidential election due to his nationality.
Atiku Abubakar Nationality
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/751/2022, and filed on Tuesday, the lawyer alleged that the former vice-president was not constitutionally qualified to participate in the presidential election because of the controversy surrounding his citizenship.
Apart from Atiku, others listed as defendants in the suit are the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).
Jideobi said by the combined provisions of Sections 1(1) & (2), 25, and 131(a) of the Nigerian Constitution, Atiku “cannot contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, him not being a Nigerian by birth.”
He said Atiku was born on the 25th of November, 1946 at Jada, at the time in Northern Cameroon, adding that it was by the plebiscite of 1961 that the town of Jada was incorporated into Nigeria.
The lawyer stated in one of the documents before the court that the first defendant (Abubakar ) “acquired his citizenship of Nigeria by virtue of the 1961 plebiscite which integrated some people of Northern Cameroon into Nigeria as new citizens of Nigeria”
He said: “On the 28th day of May 2022, the first defendant emerged as the candidate of the second defendant for the 2023 presidential election following the primary election conducted by the first defendant.
“Allowing the first defendant to a participant in the 2023 presidential election as the candidate of the second defendant would amount to a grave desecration of the otherwise sacrosanct and inviolable provisions of Sections 1(1) & (2), 25 and 131(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
“The third defendant (INEC) is under a bounden duty to ensure that the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any persons or group of persons take control of the government of Nigeria or any part thereof except in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.”
The plaintiff is praying to the court for the following reliefs:
*A declaration that by virtue of Sections 1(1) & (2), 25 and 131(a) of the Constitution, it is only a Nigerian citizen by birth that is constitutionally eligible to contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
*A declaration that given the circumstances of the birth of the first defendant (Atiku), he is not constitutionally qualified to stand for election into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
*An order of the court disqualifying the first defendant – Atiku Abubakar – from contesting for election to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
*A declaration that the second defendant (the PDP) does not have a candidate for the office of the president in the 2023 presidential election to be organised by the third defendant.
*An order of perpetual injunction restraining the first defendant from contesting for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or occupying the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by whatever means and throughout his lifetime.
*An order of perpetual injunction restraining the second defendant from fielding or presenting the first defendant as its candidate for the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
*An order of perpetual injunction restraining the third defendant from accepting and or publishing the name of the first defendant as a candidate of the second defendant for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election.
KanyiDaily recalls that a similar suit challenging Atiku’s citizenship was dismissed last February by Justice Inyang Ekwo on the grounds that the plaintiff lacked the requisite locus standi (the right to approach the court on the issue).