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Nigeria’s Election Court Strikes Out APC’s Suit Against Peter Obi’s LP Membership

“The issue of membership of a political party is an internal party affair.”

The presidential election petition tribunal has dismissed the petition of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on the eligibility of Peter Obi to contest the 2023 general election.

The APC had challenged Obi’s membership of the Labour Party (LP), declaring it incompetent.

Justice Abba Mohammed, a member of the five-member panel who read the lead judgment, said that membership of a political party is an internal affair.

President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima had contended that they had the locus standi to institute the petition on the grounds that Obi only joined the LP few days before the election, instead of the mandatory 30 days.

The court however, held that it is not the prerogative of Tinubu and Shettima to challenge Obi’s candidacy.

“The issue of membership of a political party is an internal party affair,” Mohammed said.

The tribunal also dismissed the objection raised by the respondents contending that Obi and LP failed to join Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as a respondent in their petition.

The court held that Section 133 of the Electoral Act provides that the loser and winner of an election, as well as the person/body who conducted the election, are to be joined as respondents.

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