One week to July 8 by-election for Osun West Senatorial, assistant state auditor of All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr Tajudeen Adekunbi and another member of APC, Mr Basiru Abidoye Adigun have filed an application before a Federal High Court, in Osogbo, to disqualify the party’s candidate, Senator Mudashiru Hussein from contesting the election.
Other defendants joined in the suit are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the APC, Osun State government, chairman of the APC screening committee, Hon Sanusi Rikiji and chairman of the APC appeal committee, Hon Abdullahi Bello.
In an originating summon deposed to in a sworn affidavit by the first plaintiff, Pastor Olatunji Popoola, the litigants want the court to determine, among other issues, “whether the qualification for senatorial election is not governed by Section 65 and 66 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended”.
“Whether the disqualification of the 1st defendant (Hussain) by the 3rd defendant (Rikiji) and 4th defendant (Bello) is not in compliance with the term and tenure of Section 66(1)(f) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and APC 2014 guidelines for nomination of candidates for public office.
“Whether the 5th defendant (INEC) can validly accept the 1st defendant as the candidate of the 2nd defendant (APC) for the purpose of 8th July, 2017 Osun West Senatorial by election, the 1st defendant having not resigned his appointment from the public service of the 6th defendant (Osun State government) as Commissioner in charge of cabinet matters less than 30 days before the said by election”.
The plaintiffs are seeking an order of the court “disqualifying the 1st defendant as the candidate of the 2nd defendant from contesting Osun West Senatorial District by election scheduled to hold on 8th July 2017, being a commissioner in the public service of the 6th respondent, who failed, refused and neglected to resign his appointment 30 days before the scheduled by election”.
Similarly, the plaintiffs are seeking, among other declarations, “that the 1st defendant nomination form-Senate APC/003/2015 was not duly sworn to before a magistrate or notary public in compliance with APC 2014 guidelines for the nomination of candidate for public office”.
“A declaration that the 2nd defendant (APC) does not have a validly nominated candidate for the purpose of July 8, 2017 by election for Osun West Senatorial District.
“A declaration that the 2nd defendant has no power through its National Working Committee (NWC) or any of its organ to waive non-compliance with the provision of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended, for the 1st defendant, for the purpose of the by election for Osun West Senatorial District scheduled for July 8, 2017”.
Though the application and reliefs being sought by the plaintiffs were supported by an affidavit of urgency, a date for the hearing of the suit had not been fixed by the Federal High Court.
Recall that a 5-man panel constituted by the National Secretariat of the APC had earlier disqualified the Hussein.
Hussein, a senator turned commissioner, had been disqualified because he failed to tender his registration letter as a serving commissioner within 30 days before the expression of his interest to contest for the senatorial seat.
He was later cleared to contest and was declared winner, a development that has divided Osun APC.