Court Strikes out Suit Seeking to Stop NBA Election


By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

An Abuja High Court has struck out a suit seeking to stop the Nigerian Bar Association’s 2016 general election.

Justice Olukayode Adeniyiwho struck out the suit, said that the plaintiff, John Unachukwu Austin, lacked the locus standi to institute the action against the NBA on the ground of uncertainties in his name and documents he placed before the court

Justice Adeniyi in the judgement that lasted over two hours upheld the argument of the NBA that the plaintiff was not the person disqualified by its electoral committee from contesting for the office of the national publicity secretary

 The court held that the plaintiff who in some documents claimed to be John Unachukwu Austin could not be the same person with a name Unachukwu John Austin in the face of the law

Justice Adeniyi said that the two names John Unachukwu Austin and Unachukwu John Austin were radically different from each other and that one did not need an expert in name to differentiate between the two names

The court held that since the documents placed before the court by the plaintiffs and those placed before the court by the NBA contradicted themselves the court would not engage in speculation as to whether the same person bears the two names

 To worsen his case the court held that the plaintiff who is a lawyer by profession and a judicial editor of the Nation Newspaper did not depose to affidavit to show the linkage  between the two names in the documents the court considered

 By the failure to depose to affidavit to prove that he was the bearer of the two names the court said that the plaintiff had not shown to the court that he was the one disqualified by the electoral committee of the NBA from contesting in the 2016 general election, and therefore had no justifiable reason to institute the legal action against the NBA.

The plaintiff,Mr. John Unachukwu Austin,had dragged the NBA and five others before the Abuja High Court challenging his disqualification from contesting the NBA election insisting that the disqualification was unwarranted and had no justification。

In the suit argued by his counsel,Mr. Chukwuma Ekomaru SAN,the plaintiff had also challenged the NBA from using the internet voting for the election in place of the electronic voting, claiming that there was no sufficient technology to support the internet voting。

 The judge held thus: “It is appropriate to point out that the deposition of the plaintiff was challenging and indeed targeted at the conduct of the NBA election 2016 and it is a fact that two different names,have been churned out from the documents placed before the court and the dilemma is weather the two different names belong to one and only person。

 “But going by the Supreme Court decisions in the previous matters of this nature the law is that‎ John Unachukwu Austin and Unachukwu John Austin cannot be said to be the same person without appropriate deposition to clear the ambiguity in the two names.

 “From my own point of veiw,the two names are radically different from each other and I do not need an expert in names to establish this fact moreso when the documents placed before the court by the parties contradict themselves on the names。This court will not engage in speculation and will also not encourage the use of ficticious names to achieve a desire.”