A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, has been asked to disqualify Alhaji Atiku Abubakar from running for the forthcoming presidential election.
An Abuja-based lawyer, Johnmary Jideobi, dragged the former Vice President of Nigeria to court following his victory in the presidential primary election of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Atiku has emerged as the presidential standard bearer of the PDP for the 2023 general elections after polling a total of 371 votes to defeat his closest challenger, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, who garnered 237 votes.
However, Johnmary Jideobi, in his suit, is challenging Atiku’s Nigerian citizenship, despite serving as vice president from 1999 to 2007.
Also joined as defendants in the suit are the PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission, and the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF.
In his suit, Jideobi argued that Atiku is not a Nigerian citizen by birth, as required by the country’s laws, and does not qualify to run for the office of President.
According to him, the former Vice President only “acquired his citizenship of Nigeria by virtue of the 1961 plebiscite which integrated some people of Northern Cameroon into Nigeria as new citizens of Nigeria.”
The plaintiff further told the court that it would amount to a grave desecration of the otherwise sacrosanct and inviolable provisions of Sections 1(1) & (2), 25 and 131(a) of the Constitution if Atiku is allowed to participate in the 2023 presidential election as the PDP candidate.
He also said that the court must ensure that the INEC shall not allow any person or group of persons to take control of the government of Nigeria or any part thereof except in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
Furthermore, Jideobi prayed the court to declare that “by virtue of Sections 1 (1) & (2), 25 and 131 (a) of the Constitution, it is only a Nigerian citizen by birth that is constitutionally eligible to contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He further seeks a “declaration that given the circumstances of the birth of the first defendant (Atiku), he is not constitutionally qualified to stand for election into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The plaintiff seeks an “order of the court disqualifying the first defendant – Atiku Abubakar – from contesting for election to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He also begged the court to declare that the “PDP does not have a candidate for the office of the president in the 2023 presidential election to be organized by the third defendant.”
He sought an order of perpetual injunction stopping the former Vice President and 2019 presidential candidate of the PDP from running for the office of the President of Nigeria or occupying such office by whatever means and throughout his lifetime; an order to stop the PDP from fielding Atiku as its candidate for the 2023 presidential election; and an order to restrain the INEC perpetually from accepting and or publishing Atiku’s name as a candidate of the PDP for the office of the President.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.