Appeal Court rules in PDP vs Tinubu, Shettima over double nomination
The Court of Appeal, Abuja, has dismissed an appeal by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking the disqualification of Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, in the February 25 election.
A three-member panel chaired by Justice James Abundaga on Friday evening in a unanimous judgement, held that the PDP failed to establish that its had locus standi to institute the case.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the PDP, in an appeal marked, CA/ABJ/CV/108/2023, had prayed to the appellate court to reverse the Jannary 13 judgement delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which sacked its suit on the grounds that the party lacked locus standi to have instituted the suit.
While the PDP was the appellant, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Tinubu, Shettima and APC were respondents in the appeal.
The PDP had, in the suit filed last year, challenged the validity of the Tinubu/Shettima ticket for the 2023 presidential election.
It argued that Shettima’s nomination as the running mate was in breach of the provisions of sections 29(1), 33, 35 and 84 [(1) and (2)] of the Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended), insisting that Shettima had double nominations.
It claimed that as of the time Mr Shettima was nominated as a vice presidential candidate, he had not resigned nor withdrawn his nomination as candidate for the Borno Central senatorial poll.
The party argued that Mr Shettima’s nomination as a vice-presidential candidate, as well as the candidate for the Borno Central Senatorial seat, contravened the law.
The PDP, which sought an order disqualifying the APC, Mr Tinubu and Mr Shettima from contesting the presidential election scheduled for 25 February equally asked the court for an order nullifying their candidacy.
It further asked the court for an order compelling INEC to remove their names from its list of nominated or sponsored candidates eligible to contest the election.
The defendants, in their preliminary objection, urged the court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.
They contended that the plaintiff lacked the legal basis to institute the case, which invariably challenged APC’s decision and its nomination of candidates for the election, which were within the confines of the party’s internal affairs and thus, non-justiciable.
Delivering the lead judgment, Justice Abundaga, who agreed with the submissions of lawyers to the respondents, including Thomas Ojo of Lateef Fagbemi and Co, described the PDP as a busy body, who dabbled into issues that were internal affairs of the APC.
Justice Abundaga held that the trial court was right to have held that the PDP failed to establish its legal basis.
“The appellant, having failed to disclose its locus standi, this appeal fails and it is hereby dismissed,” Abundaga said and proceeded to affirm the judgement of the Federal High Court.
The judge further awarded five million naira cost against the appellant’s lawyer, J. O. Olotu.