Nigeria’s supreme court has dismissed the suit seeking the disqualification of Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima as presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
A five-member panel of the supreme court held on Friday that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lacked the locus standi to institute the suit.
The panel said the PDP is not a member of the APC.
The PDP had claimed that Shettima’s nomination as Tinubu’s running mate was in breach of the provisions of sections 29(1), 33, 35, and 84(1)(2) of the Electoral Act.
However the lawsuit asking for Tinubu and Shetima’s disqualification was deemed to have a glaring lack of merit by the apex court.
Justice Adamu Jauro, who read the verdict, noted that the PDP interfered and was a distraction because it was an APC internal matter.
The court emphasized that the PDP lacked the legal standing to challenge Shettima’s selection as the APC’s vice presidential candidate since it was not an APC member and had not participated in the party’s primary election, citing section 84(14) of the Electoral Act.
The PDP had alleged that Shettima was still the APC’s candidate for Borno central senatorial district on July 14 when he accepted the nomination for vice-presidential candidate.
However, the respondents said Shettima’s senatorial nomination was dropped on July 6, 2022.
The respondents said the suit was statute barred, having been filed 15 days after the cause of action instead of 14 days as required by law.
In its judgment, the apex court held that section 284(14)(c) of the constitution does not extend to a party poking into the affairs of another party no matter how pained and disgruntled it may be.
“The position of the law has always been that no political party can challenge the nomination of a candidate of another political party,” Jauro, said.
As such, the apex court awarded the cost of two million naira against the PDP in favour of INEC, APC, Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima who are respondents in the case.
The court deemed PDP’s case a waste of precious judicial time of the apex court and as such dismissed it for grossly lacking in merit.
In the judgment the apex court further stressed that the PDP failed to show what harm it had suffered or would have suffered by the nomination of Shettima as vice presidential candidate of the APC.
The appeal was earlier dismissed by the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal for lack of locus standi with a cost of N5 million awarded against the PDP.
In the suit filed first on July 28, 2022, the PDP claimed that the double nomination by Shettima is in breach of provisions of sections 29(1), 33, 35, and 84(1)(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
However, on January 13, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja dismissed the suit on the grounds that the PDP lacked locus standi.
The PDP took the matter the Court of Appeal to seek justice.
In their defence, APC, Tinubu and Shettima filed a preliminary objection asking the appellate court to dismiss the suit, contending that it is APC’s internal affairs, one which therefore deprives the Court of jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Justice Abundaga of the Appellate Court held that the trial court was right to have held that the PDP failed to establish its locus standi, and as such dismissed the appeal.