The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has dismissed an appeal filed by Action Alliance (AA) against the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu.
The suit, which also had the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and APC as respondents, sought the disqualification of Tinubu from contesting the 2023 election on the grounds that he forged his University of Chicago certificate.
AA also alleged that Tinubu’s claim of attending Government College, Ibadan is false, contending that he is not qualified to contest for the office of the president.
They prayed the court for “a declaration that by virtue of Sections 224, 23 and 24 of the 1999 Constitution and the constitution of the APC, the office of the president of Nigeria is to be occupied by a man of integrity and impeccable character”.
Earlier in a judgment delivered on December 13, 2022, the trial court held that the suit of the plaintiff is statute-barred.
However, in an appeal filed on December 21, 2022, and marked CA/ABJ/CV/ 1475/ 2022, the AA prayed to the court to set aside the trial court’s judgment.
In defence of the appeal, Babatunde Ogala (SAN), on behalf of the 2nd respondent and APC, filed the 2nd respondent brief of argument and a notice of preliminary objection stating that: The appellant brief of argument is statute-barred and that the appeal is academic.
On February 3, 2023, when the appeal came up for hearing, Julius O. Ishola, on behalf of the APC, adopted the notice of preliminary objection and 2nd respondent’s brief of argument filed and prayed the court to strike out the appeal for lack of merit.
Reacting to the notice and the brief, counsel to the appellant filed an appellant reply brief and adopted the same, urging the court to dismiss the objections filed and allow the appeal.
In its ruling, the Court of Appeal, in a unanimous judgment, agreed with counsel to the 2nd and 3rd respondents and dismissed the appeal for being statute-barred, having been filed more than 22 years after the occurrence of the purported cause of action.
The court also stated that the appellant lacked locus standi to institute the suit and described it as a meddlesome interloper.
Alex Enumah in Abuja