By Taiye Agbaje
The Court of Appeal, Abuja, on Thursday, rejected an appeal by the sacked Chairman of the Action Alliance (AA) party, Chief Kenneth Udeze, seeking to reverse the nullification of the candidacy of retired Maj. Hamza Al-Mustapha and others.
A three-member panel of the appellate court, led by its President, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, in a ruling, held that the appeal was defective and hence, incompetent.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Al-Mustapha, the former aide to late Gen. Sani Abacha, won the presidential primary election of the party conducted by Udeze faction with a total of 506 votes, defeating Samson Odupitan, his only opponent, on June 9 in Abuja.
Justice Dongban-Mensem, 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 could not be an appellant and a respondent in the same appeal.
The ruling was on the appeal marked: CA/ABJ/PRE/ROA/CV/1472MI/2022, with which Udeze (who was suspended and later expelled) had sought to void the Dec. 22, 2022 ruling of the Federal High Court (FHC) in Abuja.
NAN reports that Justice Zainab Abubakar of the Abuja FHC had, on Dec. 22, 2022, dismissed Udeze’s application to set aside the court’s Nov. 4, 2022 judgement recognising the candidates produced by the Dr Adekunle Rufai Omo-Aje leadership of the party.
Udeze, whose suspension and expulsion as the AA chairman had been upheld in two judgments of the Court of Appeal, had applied to the FHC, Abuja to set aside the Nov. 4 judgment, claiming it was obtained by fraud and that he was still the party’s national chairman.
In the Nov. 4 judgement delivered by Justice Abubakar, the court ordered INEC to accept the list of candidates submitted to it by the Omo-Aje leadership of the AA and to discountenance the candidates submitted by Udeze, which Major Hamzat Al-Mustpha was a presidential candidate.
Also in her Dec. 22 ruling, Justice Abubakar reaffirmed that, with the two subsisting judgments of the Court of Appeal and another decision by a FHC in Abeokuta, Udeze cannot lawfully lay claim to being the Chairman of the party.
The two judgments of the Court of Appeal were delivered on Jan. 7, 2022 and Nov. 11, 2022, while the ruling by the FHC in Abeokuta was delivered on Sept. 8, 2022 by Justice J. O. Abdulmalik in a suit marked: FHC/AB/CS/120/2022.
Justice Abubakar held that her earlier judgment delivered on Nov. 4 was not obtained by fraud as claimed by Udeze.
The judge described Udeze as a busy body and meddlesome interloper, trying to interfere in the affairs of the party from which he was suspended and later expelled.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
edited by Sadiya Hamza
By Taiye Agbaje