A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has struck out the alleged certificate forgery suit against the Adamawa State governor, Senator Muhammad Jibrilla Bindow for want of jurisdiction.
Besides, Justice Inyang Ekwo held that the suit which sought the disqualification of Governor Bindow as a candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for the last governorship election has become an academic exercise.
The plaintiff, Manhood Ahmed Modi, an in law to President Muhammadu Buhari had approached the court in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1377/2018 to disqualify the incumbent governor of Adamawa State, Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla from participating in the 2019 Adamawa governorship election.
He specifically sought an order disqualifying the governor from contesting the position of the governor of Adamawa State and to be adjudged the rightful candidate of the APC for the said general election..
Also joined in the suit as defendants were: the All Progressive Congress, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC): West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the Registered Trustees of Centre for Reform and Public Advocacy.
But in his preliminary objection, Uche argued that the said governorship election had taken place and both his client and his political party lost the election.
The plaintiff, also a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, had alleged that Governor Bindow supplied false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in his INEC Form CF 001 by purporting to have sat for the West African Examination Council (WAEC), in June, 1983 and posses General Certificate of Education (GCE) issued by the examination body.
The plaintiff further accused the governor of falsely declaring his educational qualification and date of birth for the purpose of nomination/election into the office of Governor of Adamawa State for the 2019 general elections.
Delivering his judgment, Justice Ekwo upheld the objection raised agianst the suit by counsel to the governor, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) to the effect that the suit has become an academic exercise.
Justice Ekwo further declined jurisdiction to adjudicate on the subject matter of litigation.
The court agreed with Uche that “by viture of section 285(13) of the 1999, constitution, (4th Alteration 2017), the suit has become an academic exercise.”
The court held that “the general election of the governor of Adamawa state the subject-matter of the suit and which election the plaintiff sought to have the 1st defendant disqualified from contesting took place on March 2019.
” From the above circumstances, it would amount to a vain exercise for this court to exercise the jurisdiction to hear and determine this case, as none of the reliefs claimed can reasonably be granted.
” I consequently declined jurisdiction to try this suit, the same having become an academic exercise by virtue of section 285(13) of the 1999 constitution (4the Alteration 2019).
“I make an order striking out this suit. The preliminary objection succeeds and I will not go into the substantive matter.” Justice Ekwo held.
However, in his statement of defence filed by his counsel, Chief Chris Uche ( SAN), governor Bindow told the court that he won the 2018 primary election of the APC held on October 9, in Yola, Adamawa State which was conducted in full compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010, and the guidelines of the party with a whopping 193, 656 votes as against the paltry 15, 738 votes scored by the plaintiff.
He submitted through his counsel that after declaring him winner of the party primary, the APC dully forwarded his name to INEC as its candidate for the governorship election of Adamawa State.
According to Bindow, the INEC in the exercise of its constitutional and statutory duties received and accepted his name as the APC candidate for the 2019 governorship election for Adamawa State.
On whether he possessed the requisite qualification to contest for the governorship position, Bindow said he is educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent and that in submitting Form CF 001 for 2019 election, he submitted all documents required by law and does not need to submit and WAEC certificate.