Supreme Court rejects PDP’s request for Tinubu, Shettima’s disqualification

THE Supreme Court, on Friday, May 26, dismissed a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the disqualification of President-elect Bola Tinubu and Vice President-elect Kashim Shettima over alleged double nomination.

In a ruling which paved the way for Tinubu and Shettima’s inauguration on May 29, the Supreme Court held that the PDP lacked the locus standi to file the lawsuit.

Adamu Jauro, the Supreme Court Justice who delivered the judgment, noted that the PDP acted as an intrusive interloper and a busybody by filing the suit.


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The court further described the PDP’s action as misleading and “sad”.

The apex court awarded a sum of N2 million against the PDP and dismissed the suit for lacking merit.

On May 22, The ICIR reported that the Supreme Court fixed May 26 to deliver judgment in the suit filed by the PDP for the disqualification of Tinubu and Shettima.

The PDP, in the suit filed on July 28, 2022, asked for the disqualification of Tinubu and Shettima from contesting the 2023 presidential election on the grounds that Shettima’s nomination as Tinubu’s running mate amounted to double nomination, in breach of the provisions of Sections 29(1), 33, 35 and 84{1)}(2)} of the Electoral Act, 2022 as amended.

The party argued that Shettima’s nomination to contest the position of vice president and Borno Central senatorial seat breached the law.

An Abuja Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal had earlier dismissed the suit.

The PDP asked the Supreme Court to reverse the Court of Appeal judgment, which held that the party failed to establish its locus standi, noting that Shettima’s disqualification for double nomination could halt the swearing-in of Tinubu as President since they ran a combined ticket.

Lawyer to PDP Joe Agim told the court that the All Progressives Congress (APC) had earlier admitted Shettima’s double nomination at the Court of Appeal.

“There’s a punishment for double nomination,” Agim said.

In its argument, the All Progressives Congress (APC) noted that the PDP lacked the locus standi to file the suit, challenging the political party’s decision and its nomination of candidates for the polls.

The APC argued that the issue of contention concerned the political party’s internal affairs.

The party also noted that after 180 days, it was too late for the PDP to file a case on the subject with the Supreme Court. 

However, in its rejoinder, the PDP cited Uche Nwosu’s precedent and contended that the number of days was irrelevant since, as the Supreme Court had previously stated, “time does not run” when considering cases of double nomination.

The PDP requested that the Supreme Court exercise its authority and assume jurisdiction over the case to overturn the lower courts’ earlier rulings and reassess the parties’ arguments.

The PDP claimed that Shettima’s nominations for vice president and Senator are against the terms of the Electoral Act.

The party asserted that Shettima’s Senate nomination had not been withdrawn from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) when he was nominated as Tinubu’s running mate, arguing that running for two posts at once was unlawful.

This is the latest suit seeking to stop Tinubu’s inauguration that will be dismissed by a law court.

On March 30, the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal filed by a former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, seeking the disqualification of the presidential candidates of the APC, Tinubu and the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, from the just concluded presidential election.

The court dismissed the appeal when the former minister withdrew it after learning that it had been submitted outside the legal deadline and was; therefore, statute barred.

The Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal in Abuja had dismissed the matter on the grounds that the case lacked merit.

Nwajiuba and a non-governmental organisation, Rights for Everyone International, had petitioned the Supreme Court to annul the procedures that resulted in Tinubu and Abubakar emerging as the candidates for their respective political parties.

Similarly, the Court Of Appeal on May 25 slammed a N40 million fine on an ex-presidential candidate, Ambrose Owuru, for filing a suit to stop Tinubu’s inauguration.

The three-member panel of the court led by Jamil Tukur determined that by initiating a frivolous, vexatious, and annoying lawsuit to irritate the respondents, Owuru had engaged in a blatant abuse of the legal system.

Owuru, the presidential candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the 2019 elections, filed a suit in April challenging the outcome of the 2019 elections. He claimed he won the poll.

He requested that the court declare the President’s seat vacant and order that he be sworn in as the legitimate winner.




     

     

    However, in its judgment on May 25, the appellate court decided that the appellant’s complaints about the 2019 presidential election were unusual and unwarranted, given that they had been taken to the highest court and were rejected for lack of substance.

    The court ruled that Owuru’s attempt to revive the case that was dismissed in 2019 was made to bring lower courts into conflict with the supremacy of the apex court.

    The court ordered that the defendants in the case — President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Tinubu — should receive N10 million each from Owuru as compensation.

    Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Tinubu and Shettima will be sworn in as President and Vice President on May 29 for a tenure of four years.

     

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