Supreme Court paves way for Tinubu’s swearing-in, dismisses Peoples Democratic Party’s suit against candidature

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking the disqualification of Bola Tinubu as a candidate in the last presidential election, a development which has paved way for the swearing in of Tinubu and his Deputy Kashim Shettima on May 29, 2023

Penpushing reports that a five-man panel headed by Justice Inyang Okoro dismissed the suit unanimously, adding that the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) lacked the legal right to file a suit on an internal affair of All Progressives Congress(APC).

The  member of the panel, Justice Adamu Jauro  who delivered the lead judgement, emphasized that it should be noted that no political party can challenge the nomination of another political party, stressing that a political party lacks the right to challenge the activities of  Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) on account of the nomination of another political party’s candidate.

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“It should be noted that no political party can challenge the nomination of another political party. A political party lacks the right to challenge the activities of INEC on account of the nomination of another political party’s candidate. No court has the jurisdiction to entertain such a suit by another party,” the court held.

Penpushing further reports that the panel declared that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) failed to show any harm it suffered because of Shettima’s alleged double nomination, adding that it(panel) agreed with court of appeal’s earlier judgement dismissing the suit.

‘I am in complete agreement with the Appeal Court that the PDP lacks the right to file this suit The appellant was unable to point to where the lower court determined the substantive issues on its merit’, Jauro said.

“It is clear that the suit is statute-barred. Hence this court has no power to delve into the merit of the merit of the suit. It is frivolous and bound to fail fraught with manifest malady. It has been a waste of precious time and judicial energy. Counsel should do better to advise their clients to desist from suit frivolous matters. The appeal is grossly lacking in merit and it is hereby dismissed.”

Penpushing also reports that the court awarded the cost of N2 million against Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and in favour of the respondents, while this  judgement came three days ahead of the inauguration of Tinubu as Nigeria’s president.

The Peoples Democratic Party(PDP’s) suit  it is recalled predated the February 2023 Presidential election, while the case differs from the election petition case that the party filed at the presidential election court in the aftermath of the February election to challenge Tinubu’s victory.

Penpushing reports that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) filed the suit challenging the Tinubu/Shettima candidature suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja on 28 July 2022, as Shettima was already the senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Borno Central Senatorial District at the time of his nomination as the party’s vice-presidential candidate last year.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) argued that Shettima  had yet to withdraw his senatorial candidature as of the time his party , All Progressives Congress(APC) nominated him as its vice-presidential candidate.

Penpushing further reports that Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in same vein, argued that such double nominations of a person for elections to different constituencies in an election cycle breached the provisions of sections 29(1), 33, 35 and 84{1) (2)} of the Electoral Act, 2022.

The plaintiff said the breach, invalidated the All Progressives Congress (APC’s) Presidential ticket, and therefore, sought an order disqualifying All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidates – Messrs Tinubu and Shettima from participating in the 2023 presidential election.

Penpushing also reports that it is recalled, Justice Inyang Ekwo, while delivering judgement on 13 January, 2023 dismissed the case on the grounds that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lacked the legal right to enquire into what he described as an internal affair of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The judge emphasized   that the suit was caught by the principle of estoppel, saying the issue of Shettima’s nomination as Tinubu’s running mate was earlier decided by another court of competent jurisdiction.

Penpushing further reports that it is recalled that the judge held that the suit was an abuse of the court process and, as such, deserved to be dismissed, but displeased with the judgement, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appealed against it at the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

The appellate court, however, dismissed the appeal in its verdict on 25 March 2023, exactly one month after the Presidential election won by Tinubu and his party were declared to have won by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Penpushing also reports that in the lead judgement delivered by Justice James Abunduga, the appellate court described the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a meddlesome interloper for dabbling into the affairs of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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