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Appeal Court Dismisses PDP’s Case Against Tinubu, Shettima

 

The Court of Appeal Abuja has dismissed a case by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking the disqualification of Bola Tinubu and Kassim Shettima as the presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25 election.

The PDP had urged the appellate court to reverse the January 13 judgment by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja which dismissed its suit on the grounds that the PDP lacked locus standi to have instituted the suit.

In the unanimous judgment , a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice James Abundaga, held that the PDP failed to establish its locus standi.

Justice Abundaga 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 are internal affairs of the APC.

Respondents in the appeal are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the APC, Tinubu and Shettima.

Justice Abundaga held that the trial court was right to have held that the PDP failed to establish its locus standi.

“The appellant, having failed disclose its locus standi, this appeal fails and it is hereby dismissed,” he said and proceeded to affirm the judgment of the Federal High Court.

Justice Abundaga awarded N5million cost against the appellant’s lawyer, J. O. Olotu.

The PDP had, in the suit filed on July 28, 2022, challenged the validity of the Tinubu/Shettima ticket for the 2023 presidential election, arguing that Shettima’s nomination as the running mate was in breach of the provisions of Sections 29(1), 33, 35 and 84{1)}(2)} of the Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended).

Claiming that Shettima had double nominations, the PDP argued that 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, Tinubu and Shettima from contesting the presidential election scheduled for February 25 equally po rayed the court for an order nullifying their candidacy.

It further prayed 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 locus standi 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.

Kayode Oyero

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