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Victory; As Court Dismisses PDP’s Suit To Disqualify Tinubu/Shetima

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Tinubu And Shetima Photo Credit|Facebook

The Court of Appeal, Abuja, Friday evening, dismissed an appeal by Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, seeking the disqualification of Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate, All Progressives Congress, APC, and his deputy, Kashim Shettima, in the February 25 election.

A three-member panel headed by Justice James Abundaga, in a unanimous judgment, held that the PDP failed to establish that its had locus standi to institute the case.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the PDP, in an appeal marked: CA/ABJ/CV/108/2023, had prayed the appellate court to reverse the January 13 judgment delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court, Abuja which dismissed its suit on the grounds that the PDP lacked locus standi to have instituted the suit.

While the PDP was the appellant, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, APC, Messrs Tinubu and Shettima were respondents in the appeal.

Read More:Chief Justice Of Nigeria Alledgedly Disguised To Meet Tinubu In London

The PDP had, in the suit filed on July 28, 2022, challenged the validity of the Tinubu/Shettima ticket for the 2023 presidential election.

It argued that Mr 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.

It claimed that as at the time Mr Shettima was nominated as vice presidential candidate, he had not resigned or withdrawn his nomination as candidate for Borno Central Senatorial poll.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, Messrs Tinubu and Shettima from contesting the presidential election scheduled for February 25, equally prayed 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.

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 locus standi.

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

The judge also awarded N5 million cost against the appellant’s lawyer, J.O. Olotu.

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