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Court Strikes Out APM’s Suit Against Shettima, Tinubu

 

The Presidential Election Petition Court has dismissed the suit of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) seeking to nullify President Bola Tinubu’s election.

The court, in its ruling delivered in Abuja on Wednesday, dismissed the petition for lacking in merit and being incompetent.

The Chairman of the panel, Justice Haruna Tsammani, who read the judgement, held that issues the APM raised in its petition contained pre-election matters that could only be determined by the Federal High Court.

The court further upheld the preliminary objections of the respondents who challenged the competence of the suit.

READ ALSO: PHOTOS: Shettima, Gbajabiamila, Abure, Others In Court For Tribunal Judgement

Justice Tsammani noted that since the petition centred on the qualification of President Tinubu to contest the presidential election, the APM ought to have gone to court within 14 days after Tinubu was nominated by the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He held that since the cause of action bordered on a pre-election matter, the APM lacked the locus standi to challenge Tinubu’s nomination.

Furthermore, the court held that the Supreme Court had earlier decided that a political party does not have the right to challenge a nomination that was made by another political party.

He held that sections 131 and 237 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, made provisions for the qualification or disqualification of candidates in an election.

The court noted that the main grouse of the APM was on the alleged invalid nomination of Tinubu’s running mate, Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

He further held that Section 84(3) of the Electoral Act, 2022, stipulates that political parties should not impose qualification criteria on a candidate, except as provided for in the constitution.

It held that where an election has already been conducted and the result declared, the qualification of a candidate could no longer be challenged on the basis of sections 131 and 137 of the Constitution.

The court held that since the APM failed to challenge President Tinubu’s nomination within the constitutionally allowed period, its case, therefore, had become statute-barred.

It held that where the constitution has qualified a candidate for an election, no other law can disqualify such candidate except the constitution itself.

The court held that the issue of double nomination as alleged by the APM, was not a legal ground for disqualification.

The court held that it found no reason why Ibrahim Masari was cited as the 5th Respondent in the petition since he would not in any way be affected by the outcome of the case.

Oluwatobi Aworinde

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