The Court of Appeal in Abuja has dismissed an appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to disqualify the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu and his running mate Kashim Shettima, from the just concluded presidential election.
The court, in a unanimous judgment delivered by a three-member panel led by Justice James Abundaga on Friday, March 24th, held that the PDP failed to demonstrate locus standi to institute the case.
The PDP had earlier filed an appeal to reverse the Federal High Court’s January 13th judgment, which dismissed its suit on the grounds that it lacked locus standi.
While the PDP was the appellant, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, Tinubu, and Shettima were respondents in the appeal.
The PDP’s suit, filed on July 28th, 2022, challenged the validity of the Tinubu/Shettima ticket for the 2023 presidential election. The party argued that Shettima’s nomination as the running mate violated the provisions of Sections 29(1), 33, 35, and 84(1)(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended), which claimed that Shettima had double nominations.
According to the suit filed, Shettima being nominated as the vice-presidential candidate and also the candidate for the Borno Central Senatorial seat violated the law.
The PDP had solicited for an order to disqualify the APC, Tinubu, and Shettima from contesting the presidential election and an order nullifying their candidacy. The party also asked the court to compel INEC to remove their names from its list of nominated or sponsored candidates eligible to contest the election.
However, the defendants nudged the court of appeal to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction, arguing that the plaintiff lacked locus standi to institute the case, which challenged APC’s decision and its nomination of candidates for the election, which were within the confines of the party’s internal affairs and thus, non-justiciable.
Justice Abundaga while delivering the lead judgment, agreed with the respondents’ lawyers’ submissions that the PDP was only meddling in the internal affairs of the APC.
He agreed that the trial court was right to have held that the PDP failed to establish its locus standi, thus, affirming the judgment of the Federal High Court.
“The appellant, having failed to disclose its locus standi, this appeal fails, and it is hereby dismissed”, he said. The judge also awarded N5 million cost against J. O. Olotu, the appellant’s lawyer.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has affirmed the election of Agbu Kefas of the Peoples Democr…