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Appeal court disqualifies Hamza Al-Mustapha as AA presidential candidate

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A Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, on Thursday, rejected an application to set aside its Nov. 4 judgment  recognising the candidates produced by Dr Adekunle Rufai Omo-Aje-led leadership of the Action Alliance (AA) party.

Justice Zainab Abubakar, in a ruling, held that the application filed by Kenneth Obidiche Udeze-led factional leadership lacked merit.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Abubakar had in the Nov. 4 judgement ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept the candidates submitted for 2023 general elections by the Omo-Aje leadership of the AA.

The judge also directed the electoral umpire to reject those candidates produced  by the factional leader, Udeze, among whom is retired Major Hamzat Al-Mustpha.

But Udeze, whose suspension and expulsion as the AA national chairman had been upheld in two judgments of the Court of Appeal, had applied to the FHC, Abuja to set aside the Nov. 4 judgment, claiming it was obtained by fraud and that he was still the party’s national chairman.

Delivering the ruling on Thursday, Justice Abubakar said that, with the two subsisting judgments of the Court of Appeal and another decision by a FHC in Abeokuta, Udeze cannot lawfully lay claim to being the chairman of the party.

The two judgments of the Court of Appeal were delivered on Jan. 7 and Nov. 11 while the ruling by the Abeokuta FHC was delivered on Sept. 8 by Justice J. O. Abdulmalik in a suit marked: FHC/AB/CS/120/2022.

The judge held that her earlier judgment delivered on Nov. 4 was not obtained by fraud as claimed by Udeze.

She described Udeze as a busy body and meddlesome interloper, trying to interfere in the affairs of the party from which he was suspended and later expelled.

Abubakar consequently dismissed the suit.

NAN reports that Al-Mustapha, the former aide to late Gen. Sani Abacha, won the presidential primary election of the party conducted by Udeze faction with a total of 506 votes, defeating Samson Odupitan, his only opponent, on June 9 in Abuja.

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