Home2023 Elections#Breaking! Supreme Court Dismisses Suit Seeking Disqualification Of Tinubu, Shettima

#Breaking! Supreme Court Dismisses Suit Seeking Disqualification Of Tinubu, Shettima

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The Supreme Court of Nigeria, on Friday dismissed a suit seeking to disqualify the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shetima from contesting the February 25, 2023 presidential election on account of double nomination.

The decision of the 5-man panel led by Justice John Inyang Okoro was on a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party.

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).

The PDP claimed that Shettima had double nominations, arguing that his nomination as a vice-presidential candidate as well as the candidate for the Borno Central Senatorial seat contravened the law.

Therefore, the PDP sought an order disqualifying the APC, Tinubu and Shettima from contesting the presidential election.

Apart from praying the court for an order nullifying their candidacy, the former Vice President and the opposition party, the PDP also prayed for an order compelling the INEC to remove their names from its list of nominated or sponsored candidates eligible to contest the election.

But after hearing the suit, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on January 13, 2023, dismissed the PDP’s suit, describing the party as a busy body to have instituted the legal action.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, and the All Progressives Congress were joined in the suit as defendants.

Consequently, Justice Ekwo slammed a N5million cost against the PDP for dabbling into issues that were the internal affairs of the APC.

Miffed by the trial court’s judgment, the PDP headed to the appellate court to seek redress by having the judgement set aside and dismissed.

However, the Court of Appeal in it’s judgment, led by Justice James Abundaga, on March 24, held that the PDP failed to establish its locus standi.

Leading a three-man panel of the appellate court, Abundaga refused the application by the PDP to reverse Justice Ekwo’s judgment.

Again, not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal, the PDP approached the Supreme Court for it to reverse the judgement of the court below.

Delivering the lead judgment on Friday, Justice Adamu Jauro held that the Plaintiff/Appellant (PDP) lacked the locus standi (legal right) to file the suit against Tinubu and Shettima.

The apex court held that the appellant was unable to show that it’s civil right had been infringed upon, and how the action of Tinubu in picking Shettima as his running mate had affected or caused injury to him.

Justice Jauro noted that for a person to have the locus standi to challenge a nomination process of a political party, the person must be a natural person, an aspirant to that position and a member of that party.

A political party has no right to challenge the action of another party or the decision of INEC in respect of another party.

Another reason while the suit of the appellant was “shaky”, the court said, was that no matter how manifestly wrong an action might be, “It is only a person that has locus standi that cause initiate a cause of action”.

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