The federal high court in Abuja has fixed September 27 to hear a suit challenging the citizenship of Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president of Nigeria.
Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa, the plaintiff, had filed the suit in 2019 and challenged Abubakar’s eligibility to contest for president.
The group joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), as co-defendants in the suit.
When the case was called on Thursday, Akinola Oladimeji, the plaintiff’s counsel, told the court that he was not prepared to go on with the matter because he only discovered on Wednesday that it was slated for hearing.
Inyang Ekwo, the judge, said he was not happy that the date he gave for hearing had become a subject of controversy.
He adjourned the matter until September 27 and warned the plaintiff that it would be the last adjournment for his client.
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The plaintiff had told the court that considering the provisions of sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the constitution and the circumstances surrounding his birth, the former vice-president cannot contest for the top office.
Malami, in an affidavit to support the suit, had said Abubakar was not a Nigerian citizen by birth.
He, therefore, told the court that the former vice-president is not eligible to run for president in Nigeria.
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“The first defendant (Atiku) is not qualified to contest to be president of the federal republic of Nigeria,” Malami had submitted.
“The first defendant is not a fit and proper person to be a candidate for election to the office of president of the federal republic of Nigeria.”
But Abubakar and the PDP, the party through which he contested the last election, insisted that he is a bonafide citizen and asked the court to dismiss the suit for lacking merit.
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Abubakar told the court that the suit was filed in an attempt to smear his person and integrity.
PDP Rejects Atiku For 2023 Presidency
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Deji Adeyanju, an Abuja-based activist, hinted that candidates PDP stakeholders are considering to field as presidential candidate in 2023.
Adeyanju, convener of Concerned Nigerians claimed that PDP stakeholders are considering either Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State or Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State.
In a series of tweets, the former PDP member claimed that the party’s stakeholders are tired of fielding Atiku Abubakar as its presidential candidate.
The activist claimed that PDP stakeholders are angry with Atiku for allegedly abandoning the party in the 2015 elections.
According to Adeyanju: “PDP stakeholders want to present Tambuwal or Bala Mohammed both serving Governors as presidential candidates and someone from South as VP in 2023.
“They say everybody is tired of the Dubai man with dollars. Why won’t you guys present him now? I want to see you guys in opposition for 16yrs.
“Many of them are so pained that the man abandoned their party after the election and relocated to Dubai for two years but is now back to start campaigning for another ticket.
“The only way PDP can get real sense is if they spend 16yrs in opposition. APC should present an acceptable candidate in 2023.”