Appeal court refuses to reinstate Al-Mustapha as AA presidential candidate

January 5, 2023
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The court of appeal in Abuja has dismissed an appeal seeking to affirm the election of Hamza Al-Mustapha as the presidential candidate of the Action Alliance (AA).

In the decision delivered on Thursday, a three-member panel of the appellate court, held that the appeal filed by Kenneth Udeze, factional chairman of the AA, was defective and hence, incompetent.

BACKGROUND

Al-Mustapha won the primary of the party with a total of 506 votes, defeating Samson Odupitan, his only opponent.

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The retired army major and former aide to late Sani Abacha was declared the party’s candidate at the AA presidential primary held on June 9 in Abuja.

Consequently, a faction of the party led by Adekunle Omoaje filed a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1759/2022 on September 30.

Omoaje approached the court to seek redress for the non-recognition of the candidates submitted to INEC by him on behalf of the party.

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In the document seen by TheCable, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was the only respondent.

In the judgment delivered on November 4, Zainab Abubakar, the presiding judge, ordered INEC to discountenance all the candidates submitted to it by Kenneth Udeze, who was sacked as the party’s chairman by another court.

The court also ordered INEC “to upload and display the names of the applicant’s candidates for the 2023 general election which had been forwarded to the respondent as its candidate for the said general election.”

However, Udeze filed an application before the same court seeking to reverse the judgment on the grounds that the other faction had deceived the court.

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Abubakar reaffirmed her verdict of November 4, adding that Udeze cannot lay claim to the chairmanship of the party since he has been sacked by a federal high court in Abeokuta as well as two subsisting judgments of the court of appeal.

The two judgments of the court of appeal were delivered on January 7, 2022, and November 11, 2022, respectively, while the ruling by the federal high court in Abeokuta was delivered on September 8, 2022.

Abubakar held that her earlier judgment delivered on November 4 was not obtained by fraud as claimed by Udeze.

The judge described Udeze as a “busybody” and “meddlesome interloper” trying to interfere in the affairs of the party from which he was suspended and later expelled.

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UDEZE’S APPEAL

Aggrieved by the dismissal of his application at the federal high court, Udeze went to the court of appeal.

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Dongban-Mensem, president of the appeal court, in the lead ruling, held that Udeze was wrong to have initiated the appeal in the name of the AA and also listed the party as a respondent.

The judge said that the AA cannot be an appellant and a respondent in the same appeal.

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