The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on the tenth of February dismissed an appeal filed by Action Alliance (AA) against Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), All Progressives Congress (APC) and Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/ 1475/ 2022.
The appellant had earlier instituted an action at a Federal High Court, Abuja against the nomination of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the presidential candidate of the APC for the 2023 general election.
In opposition to the suit and on behalf of the 2nd Defendant, Babatunde Ogala, SAN, filed a counter affidavit and a Notice of Preliminary Objection on the ground that the suit is statute-barredd having been filed more than 22 years from the alleged cause of action.
The trial judge, while delivering his judgment on the 13th of December, 2022, agreed with the defence argument and subsequently dismissed the suit for being statute barred having been filed more than 22 years from the occurrence of the purported cause of action.
The Court also found that Plaintiff lacked locus standi to institute the action.
The Appellant, Action Alliance, being dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial court filed a Notice of Appeal on the 21st of December, 2022 and prayed the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the trial court, wherein the court held that the suit of the Plaintiff was statute barred.
In defence of the appeal, Babatunde Ogala, SAN, on behalf of the 2nd Respondent, All Progressives Congress, filed 2nd Respondent Brief of Argument and a Notice of Preliminary Objection on the grounds that the Appellant Brief of Argument is statute-barred, and that the appeal is academic.
On the 3rd of February, 2023 when the appeal came up for hearing, Julius O. Ishola, Esq Ogala Chamber, on behalf of the All Progressives Congress adopted the Notice of Preliminary Objection and 2nd Respondent Brief of Argument filed and prayed the court to dismiss/strike out the appeal for lacking in merit.
Counsel to the Appellant, in reaction to the Notice of Preliminary Objection and 2nd Respondent’s Brief of Argument, filed an Appellant Reply Brief and adopted the same in urging the court to dismiss the objections filed and allow the appeal.
The Court of Appeal, in a unanimous judgment on the 10th of February, 2023, agreed with learned counsels to both the 2nd and 3rd Respondents and subsequently dismissed the appeal for being statute barred having been filed more than 22 years from the occurrence of the purported cause of action.
The court also found that the Appellant lacked locus standi to institute the action and described it as a meddlesome interloper. On the whole, the appellate court affirmed the decision of the trial court delivered on the 13th of December, 2022.