Adamawa: Court dismisses APC House of Reps aspirant’s suit

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, dismissed a suit filed by Mwatapwa Bobby, an aspirant in the May 28 House of Representatives primary election conducted by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Numan, Demsa and Lamurde Federal Constituency of Adamawa.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgement, held that the plaintiff’s case failed for lack of credible evidence.

Justice Ekwo said that in civil cases of which pre-election matter is one, the plaintiff’s case must succeed upon preponderance of evidence.

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“In other words, the case of the plaintiff must succeed on its ovm strength and not on the weakness of the defendant or absence of a defence;” he said.

Citing previous cases, the judge said: “…civil suits are decided on the balance of probabilities; put differently on the preponderance of evidence.

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“The principle requires that the totality of the evidence of both sides is taken into account and appraised in determining each side’s quantum.

“An imaginary scale is then used to determine which side’s evidence is heavier and according preponderates.

“The party whose evidence is heavier succeeds in the case.”

According to him, it is the law that contents of pleadings such as the averments that make up the case of the plaintiff must be proved, and must be on preponderance of evidence and balance of probabilities.

“From the state of evidence in this case, I do not see any evidence of the plaintiff in the averments in support of his originating summons and Exhibits MG 1, MG 3, MG 4, MG 5, MG 6, MG 7,MG 8, MG 9, MG 10, MG 11, and MG 12 that has established the case of the plaintiff.

“Therefore, upon reviewing the evidence in this case, I find that the plaintiff has failed to discharge the onus of proof in this case and upon not being satisfied with reliable and credible evidence, the case of the plaintiff is bound to fail,” Justice Ekwo ruled.

The judge consequently dismissed the suit.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the plaintiff, Mwatapwa George Ibbi Bobby had, in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/857/22, sued the APC, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Hon. Vrati Sawulama Nzonzo as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

The plaintiff had sought the court to determine whether having regard to the provisions of Section 84 (3) of the Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended) and the “clearance letter” dated May 13, issued by a duly authorised officer of the 1st defendant (APC), the House of Representatives Screening Committee and the Primary Elections Committee of the party had any power to disqualify him from contesting the primary election for the federal constituency even when he was in full compliance with Sections 65 and 66 of the 1999 Constitution.

He asked that having been purportedly disqualified from participating in the primaries, whether in the light of Section 84(13) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the 3rd defendant (Nzonzo) or any other person can be recognised or included by the 2nd defendant (INEC) as the APC’s sponsored candidate for the House of Representatives in the 2023 general elections to represent Numan, Demsa and Lamurde Federal Constituency, among ithers.

Bobby, therefore, prayed for an order of the court declaring the primary election conducted on Saturday, May 28 by the party’s Primary Election Committee for the Numan, Demsa and Lamurde Federal Constituency of Adamawa “purportedly won by the 3rd defendant as invalid, null and void and of no effect whatsoeve.”

He also sought an order of perpetual injunction, restraining INEC from accepting, recognising, publishing or including Nzonzo’s name or any other person as the party’s sponsored candidate for the 2023 House of Representatives poll in the federal constituency.(NAN)

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