By Ola Ajayi, Ibadan
A Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan has struck out the suit filed by the Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu against the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress over his disqualification as the party’s gubernatorial candidate for the March 9 election.
Barrister Shittu had approached the court for his disqualification from the primary of the election over his non-observance of his mandatory National Youth Service Corps after his graduation from the university. He listed APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission as respondents.
Before striking out the case, Justice P. I. Ajoku of Ibadan Federal High Court, said the plaintiff (Adebayo Shittu) had not complied with section 285(9) of the Constitution of Nigeria when he failed to file the case 14 days which the Constitution allows.
The trial judge noted that the plaintiff in his originating summons had confirmed that he is a card carrying member of the APC which gives him the opportunity to contest governorship primary of the party in September last year.
The court explained further that Barrister Shittu had also declared that he only read about his disqualification on the pages of the newspaper published on the September 28, 2018 as a result of his failure to perform a year mandatory National Youth Service Corps NYSC.
The court also submitted that the plaintiff had claimed that he tried to explore the internal mechanism of the party by petitioning the national secretariat of APC, at the same time, asking his lawyer to write a letter in respect of the disqualification.
To the judge, all these excuses hold no water as he ruled that all the excuses of the plaintiff cannot exonerate him from the section 285(9) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which only gives the plaintiff 14 days to file his suit after the action has commenced.
Justice Ajoku made allusion to several authorities to support the judgment noting that the constitution of Nigeria did not make provision for extension of time in electoral related matter.
The court then held that plaintiff erred when he said he tried to explore the seven-day internal mechanism for the settlement instead of filing the case in court.
The judge stated further that the Supreme Court had ruled that the courts should not allow technicality in pre-election and post-election matters adding that for the fact that the plaintiff claimed that he participated in the primary (but was informed through newspaper publications of his disqualification that he did not participate in mandatory NYSC), would not save him since he had failed to obey section 285(9) of the constitution.
He then struck out the case.