- Ahead of 2023, the Federal High Court in Abuja is set to deliver verdict on a controversial suit challenging Atiku's eligibility to contest for president in Nigeria
- In the suit which surfaced in the buildup to the 2019 elections, a group named Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA) argued that the former VP is not a Nigerian
- After taking arguments from EMA and other parties involved, the court said it will deliver its ruling in February 2022, about a year before the next general elections
FCT, Abuja - A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed Monday, February 21, 2022, for judgment in a suit seeking to challenge the eligibility of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to vie for the office of the president in Nigeria.
Nigerian Tribune reported that Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date on Monday, December 6, after taking arguments from counsel to the parties in the suit.
Legit.ng gathers that a group named Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA) had sued Atiku, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as first to fourth respondents respectively.
EMA is challenging Atiku’s eligibility to contest for presidency on the grounds that he was not a Nigerian citizen by birth.
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What EMA wants from the court
Among others, EMA asked the court to hold that considering the provisions of sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the constitution and the circumstances surrounding Atiku’s birth, he cannot contest for the office of the president.
Contrary to the argument of Atiku's lawyer, Eyitayo Jegede, EMA through its counsel, Akinola Oladimeji, said the suit was not a pre-election one, adding that it sought to know the citizenship of Atiku.
The counsel further argued that a pre-election matter is filed by an aspirant in an election, noting that EMA was not an aspirant in the 2019 presidential election.
Oladimeji argued that even though Atiku was said to have been born in Nigeria, he was not a Nigerian citizen. He stated that for the fact that the mistake had been done in time past did not mean that this should continue.
Atiku's lawyer Jegede, PDP's lawyer speak
In his arguments, Jegede said the matter was already stale as it was tied to 2019 election in which his client vied for the election, challenged the poll and was unsuccessful.
The senior lawyer said this defined the futility of the plaintiff case.
Corroborating Jegede’s submission, counsel to the PDP, Adedamola Falokun, said he also filed a notice of preliminary objection, describing the matter as a pre-election matter and urging the court not to waste its time on it.
Adamawa state government joins suit
Meanwhile, the Adamawa state government, had earlier sought an order of the court to be joined in the suit.
Breaking: Gov Buni-led Caretaker Committee makes new move, hires 3 SANs to defend suit seeking its dissolution
The state government argued that Atiku was eligible to vie for the office of the president.
It said Atiku is a citizen of Nigeria from Adamawa who had been elected as a governor of the state in 1999 and served as the vice president of the country between 1999 to 2007.
It stated that the suit threatened the right of not just the former vice president to contest the office of the president but that of the citizens of Nigeria, of Adamawa origin covering 12 out of the 21 LGAs in the northern state.
2023: Maybe, God has said this is the right Time for Atiku to be president, says Titi Abubakar
Meanwhile, Mrs Titi Abubakar, the wife of former Vice President Atiku, has hinted that she will encourage him to vie for the presidency one more time.
The Adamawa-born Atiku has been making attempts to be Nigeria's president since the 1990s. There are insinuations that the popular politician will give it a shot one more time in the year 2023.
Mrs Abubakar, a native of Osun state, sais if it is God's will, her husband will emerge as the president of the country.
2023 presidency: Atiku is my candidate, not Tinubu, Mr Ibu denies viral claim
In a related development, a prominent Nollywood actor, Mr. Ibu (John Ikechukwu Okafor) has debunked rumours that he has thrown his weight behind the 2023 presidential ambition of the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ahmed Tinubu.
In an Instagram video seen by PM News, Mr. Ibu said he was at the gathering for the endorsement of Tinubu's presidential bid only on invitation by some of his colleagues who needed his assistance.
The comedian said he cannot turn his back on Atiku Abubakar who has done so much for him as a long-time friend. The actor added that for many years he has worked with the former vice president even in his state, adding that if the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)'s politician wants to go for the presidency come 2023, he will not hesitate to support him.