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LOCUS STANDI UNDER SECTION 29 OF THE ELECTORAL ACT, 2022 ON ALLEGATION OF FALSE INFORMATION.

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SUIT NO: FHC/ABJ/CS/1120/2022 PRINCE COLLINS ESELEMO V. TAMARAKURO JULIANO OBRIKI & 2 ORS.

Under the old dispensation of the Electoral Act, 2011, there was universal locus standi to any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that the information supplied by a candidate in his FORM CF001 are false or has submitted forged documents of a fundamental nature that impairs his constitutional qualification, and can approach the Federal High Court, High Court of a State or High Court of the Federal Capital Territory to seek an order of disqualification.

This position has however, changed under the current Electoral Act, 2022. Section 29 of the Electoral Act, 2022 introduced a new innovation by limiting and restricting the right of action to only an Aspirant who contested the Primaries with the Candidate whose nomination or selection is being challenged. The false information contained in the Affidavit of a Candidate upon which an Aspirant can sue has also been circumscribed "his constitutional’’ requirements to contest the election.

These and other notable pronouncement formed the decision by Hon. Justice Omotosho J. of the Federal High Court in this contentious litigation against Hon. Tamarakuro Juliano Obriki; the nominated candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Bomadi/Patani Federal Constituency of Delta State in the forthcoming House of Assembly Elections by the Candidate of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP); Prince Collins Eselemo.

The Trial Court in upholding the preliminary objection gave a literary interpretation to the provision to the effect that Mr. Eselemo lacked the requisite locus standi to challenge the alleged false information agitating in the Originating Summons.

The Court equally held on the merit that the Plaintiff failed to prove the allegations which are rooted in criminality beyond a reasonable doubt.

We are pleased to have represented; Hon. Tamarakuro Juliano Obriki in this contentious litigation. The year 2023 is starting on high note with this landmark decision.