The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a suit filed by former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, against his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging his disqualification as one of the aspirants in the primary for the 2019 governorship election.
Recall that the Oyo State chapter of APC had barred Shittu from participating in its primary election because he skipped the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) scheme after his graduation from the Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU) in 1978.
The minister dragged the party to court, seeking redress for being denied from participating in the party’s governorship primary in the state.
He claimed that APC’s national leadership omitted his name in the list of its governorship aspirants for the primaries because he did not participate in the NYSC.
He had, among other things, urged the court to determine whether the ground for disqualifying his client was lawful or a contravention of the constitution.
He argued that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria required anyone seeking to be a state governor to possess a maximum of Senior Secondary School Certificate and not necessarily an NYSC certificate.
Mr. Adebayo Ojo, the defence counsel, in his opposition to Shittu’s prayers, said the matter was already a dead issue and therefore an academic exercise.
A Federal High Court on April 12, struck out the suit on grounds that Shittu filed the case after the expiration of the 14 days stipulated by the law which made him appeal the judgment all the way to the Supreme Court.
The ex-minister argued that the APC constitution prescribes that aggrieved members must fully explore all internal crisis resolution mechanism before going to court which accounted for why he could not challenge the party’s decision in court within the stipulated time.
But delivering judgment, the Supreme Court five-man panel of Justices led by Justice John Okoro, dismissed the appeal for being statute barred.
“This appeal is dismissed having been withdrawn by the appellant and no objection and there is no order as at cost,’’ Okoro held.