The Federal High Court in Lagos has dismissed a suit by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its member Mutiu Okunola challenging James Faleke’s nomination as the All Progressives Congress (APC) Deputy Governorship candidate in Kogi State.
The suit complained that Faleke’s nomination constitutes double nomination as he retains his seat as a member of the House of Representatives, representing Ikeja Federal Constituency in Lagos.
The plaintiffs asked the court to compel Faleke to vacate his seat as a member of the House.
Okunola and PDP sought a declaration that the transfer of Faleke’s membership from Lagos to Kogi by INEC automatically terminated Faleke’s membership of the Ikeja Federal Constituency and consequently extinguishes his continued representation of the Constituency in the House.
But, the defendants said the subject matter of the action was academic as it was already decided at the election tribunal and the Court of Appeal where the plaintiffs lost.
In his judgment, Justice Abdulazeez Anka held that the intention of the draftsmen as it relates to Section 37 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) is to the effect that double nomination is as regards one candidate being nominated to contest an election under two different political parties.
The judge said where a candidate is nominated for an election while still holding an elective position under the same political party does not amount to double nomination.
According to the judge, only a member of the same political party that made the nomination can challenge the nomination of a candidate.
Justice Anka held that the issue of whether the transfer of data by INEC of a registered voter from one constituency to another can constitute a ground to disbar a person from holding an office was academic as no law was provided by the plaintiffs’ counsel to show that a candidate or a voter whose data has been transferred by INEC would be disbarred from continuing to hold the office.