By Danladi Alhassan
Hearing has been fixed for March 26 in a suit at a Federal High Court accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ofviolating Section 91(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) in their election campaign spending.
In the suit, Usman Ibrahim Alhaji, the presidential candidate of the National Rescue Movement (NRM) in the February 23 presidential election, is alleging that Buhari and Atiku expended more than N1billion in their campaigns in alleged violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Listed as defendants in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/191/2019 are: Buhari, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC).
During preliminary hearing on Tuesday, Justice Ahmed Mohammed directed that processes in the case be served on Buhari and Atiku, through the legal departments of their political parties.
The judge ordered substituted service after plaintiff’s lawyer, Ezekiel Ofou, told the court that his client found it extremely difficult servicing processes on Buhari and Atiku, due to the retinue of security aides around them.
The plaintiff is praying the court for the following reliefs
*A declaration that the 1st and 3rd Defendants (Buhari and Atiku), have brazenly and flagrantly violated the provisions of section 91(2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), having exceeded the maximum legally allowable N1billion election expenditure for presidential candidates, taking into cognizance, the excessive, profligate and continuous extravagant presidential campaign of the 1st and 3rd Defendants since their emergence as presidential candidates of their respective political parties.
*A declaration that the 1st defendant unauthorized use of state resources brand-named ‘TRADERMONI’, with which the 1st defendant through his running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has employed to tacitly induce electorates in exchange for their votes, amount to fraud covered within section 124(1)(a) (b) (c) and section 130 of the Electoral Act.
*A declaration that branded items such as bags of fertilizers, bags of rice, distributed to electorates at campaign rallies by the 1st and 3rd defendants, amount to inducement of electorates in exchange for their votes, amount to fraud covered within section 124(1)(a) (b) (c) and section 130 of the Electoral Act”.
*An order of this honourable court directing the 5th defendant (INEC) to expunge the names of the 2nd and 4th defendants (APC and PDP) from the presidential ballot papers so as to rescue Nigeria’s democracy from money bags, the influence of money, also to prevent the undue use of money, and to preserve the peoples’ sovereignty as enshrined in section 14(2)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).