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Senate: Court Dismisses Nnaji’s Suit Against Ex-Governor Nnamani

From Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The senator representing Enugu east senatorial district in the National Assembly (NASS) Senator Gilbert Nnaji, Friday lost his bid to upturn the People’s Democratic Party PDP ticket given to ex- governor of Enugu state, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani for the just concluded general election.

Nnaji, who is the chairman senate committee on communication had in October 2018, approached an Abuja Federal High Court, asking that his name be submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as the PDP authentic candidate for the Senatorial District.

It would be recalled that in the result announced by the PDP after the primary election, Nnaji came fourth, while Nnamani emerged winner by proxy, as he was said to be outside Nigeria on the day of the primary.

Nnaji, had through his lawyer Barrister Onyinye Mbanefo, argued that Nnamani was not present during the PDP screening of candidates and as such was not qualified to stand for the primary elections.

He further claimed that he came second in the election and was the rightful candidate.

The case was later transferred to Enugu on the order of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.

Counsel to Nnamani, Barr. C Anyigbo, in his defense, among other things, told the court that the suit was statute barred.

He argued that the course of action should have arisen after the PDP screening which the plaintiff (Nnaji) claimed Senator Nnamani did not attend.

There was also drama midway into the suit as another aspirant, Mr. Chinedu Nneji, indicated interest to be joined in the matter.

Nneji, who came second prayed the court that in the event of Nnamani’s disqualification, he should be declared the rightful candidate of the party.

Delivering judgement, Justice Buba Mohammed said Nnaji appeared in person to give testimony where he claimed to have come second in the PDP primary.

He, however, held that having failed to institute the action within the period as provided by the law, the matter was dead.

While agreeing that the issue of jurisdiction was clearly raised by the defendant, the court held that the suit was statute barred and should be dismissed.

“Head or tail, night or day, the case of the plaintiff is statute barred, in that case, the only thing the court could do is that of dismissal,” the judge held.

“The plaintiff cannot cry wolf where there was none, this is a plaintiff who chose to file his case in Abuja, he started on a wrong footing, this court will not on the altar of speed, sacrifice justice.

“This court is of the firm view that the plaintiff is a speculator, sleepwalking. From every assessment, the plaintiff cannot prove his case.

“Issue resolved against the plaintiff, lacked merit, speculative and is hereby dismissed,” the court further ordered.

On the counterclaims by the 5th defendant, Nneji, the court described him as “a habitual latecomer, more or less a scavenger waiting for the spoils of war.”

Justice Mohammed equally dismissed plaintiff’s counterclaims for also being statute barred.

Nnaji, could not be reached for his reaction on the court verdict.



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