PEPC adjourns APM’s petition against Tinubu to June 9 (

PEPC adjourns APM’s petition against Tinubu to June 9


The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) sitting at the Court of Appeal in Abuja has again adjourned the hearing of the petition filed by the Allied People Movement (APM) challenging the victory of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to enable parties reference a Supreme Court judgment on the double nomination.

At resumed sitting on Friday, counsel for the petitioner, Yakubu Maikasuwa, (SAN) informed the court that though the last adjournment was to enable parties to obtain a copy of the Supreme Court judgment that was delivered on a similar matter as the petition,j he said, parties were yet to access the judgment of the apex court.

The lawyer, therefore, prayed to the court for an adjournment till Friday, June 9 to enable parties to access the judgment and take an appropriate decision.

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Kemi Pinhero, Lateef Fagbemi and Akin Olujimi, all Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), counsel to the 1st to 5th respondents in the petition, did not oppose the application for adjournment by the petitioner.

When the matter was called on May 30, Tinubus lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), informed the court of a recent judgment by the Supreme Court, which according to him, appears to have resolved the same issue the APM has brought before the PEPC.

We are aware that the Supreme Court gave a decision on this same matter in the yettobereported judgment in a suit numbered, SC/CV/501/2023 and the parties involved were Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) versus the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and three others where the apex court resolved all the issues.

We promise within the next two days that the certified true copies of the judgment of the Supreme Court will be made available.

And we will also discuss with the petitioners whether, in light of the decision of the Supreme Court, there will still be the need to continue with this petition, Olanipekun submitted.

Responding, APMs counsel, Suleiman Abubakar, however, requested a short time to enable the petitioners to avail themselves of the judgment so as to make informed decisions.

Based on the submission of the learned silk, we shall be praying for an adjournment in the hearing of this petition to enable us to apply to the Supreme Court for the copy of the judgment referred to and examine same and know the effect it has on this petition.

The Supreme Court had dismissed the appeal by the PDP seeking the disqualification of Tinubu in the February 25 presidential election over the alleged double nomination of the VicePresident, Senator Kashim Shettima.

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The apex court, in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Adamu Jauro, held that the case of the PDP was incompetent and lacking in merit because it lacked the necessary legal authority to initiate the suit in the first place.

According to the apex court, Section 285(14)(c) of the constitution does not permit a political party to interfere in the internal affairs of another political party.

It is therefore the position of the Supreme Court that the PDP, not being a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) cannot challenge how the APC produced its candidates for an election.

The apex court also pointed out that the case of Nwosu relied upon by the appellant was not applicable because Nwosu was nominated by two different political parties, while in the instant appeal, Shettima was nominated by just one political party, the APC.

The fivemember panel led by Justice John Okoro, accordingly upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court, both in Abuja, which dismissed the appellants case for lack of locus standi.

Besides, the apex court held that the case of the appellant has become statutebarred having run beyond the 180 days permitted by law hence, it cannot delve into the merit of the case.

Specifically, the PDP had sought the disqualification of the APCs Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates in the February 25 presidential election over alleged double nomination an act which they said, violates the electoral laws.

The appellant had anchored its appeal on the claims that the appellate court erred in law when it dismissed its appeal and affirmed the judgment of a trial court which held that the suit was incompetent and lacking in merit.

PDP is claiming that the APC breached the law when it nominated Shettima as the Senatorial candidate for Borno Central and as the vicepresidential candidate of the APC.

But, the apex court held that PDP cannot challenge the nomination of Shettima as a vicepresidential candidate because it lacked the necessary locus standi to do so, having not been an aspirant, a member of APC, nor shown any harm it suffered as a result of the nomination of Shettima as VP candidate.

According to the apex court, No matter how manifestly bad the process of an election, it is only a person with locus standi that can file a suit against it.

It said that no matter how pained the PDP may be, it can only remain mum and be an onlooker.

It described the PDP as a busybody and a meddlesome interloper because it did not disclose any nexus between it and the action of the APC.

Similarly, the APMs petition is anchored on the claims that Tinubu was not qualified to contest the February 25 presidential election on the grounds of the alleged double nomination of his vicepresidential candidate.

The petitioners are also questioning Tinubus candidacy on the grounds of the substitution of the initial placeholder, Kabiru Masari, with Shettima.

APM had in its petition marked CA/PEPC/04/2023, contended that the withdrawal of Kabiru Masari who was initially nominated as the vicepresidential candidate of the APC invalidated Tinubus candidacy in view of Section 131(c) and 142 of the 1999 Constitution.

It is the case of the petitioners that Tinubus candidature had elapsed at the time he nominated Shettima as a replacement for Masari, who was nominated as a place holder for the substantive vicepresident nominee.

They submitted that at the time Tinubu announced Shettima as his runningmate, he was no longer in a position, constitutionally, to nominate a runningmate since he had ceased to be a presidential candidate of the 2nd respondent having regards to the provisions of section 142 of the 1999 Constitution.

APM further submitted that Masaris initial nomination activated the joint ticket principle enshrined in the constitution, stressing that his subsequent withdrawal invalidated the said joint ticket.

Amongst the reliefs they are seeking from the court include, a declaration that Shettima was not qualified to contest as the vicepresidential candidate of the APC as of February 25 when the election was conducted by INEC having violated the provisions of Section 35 of the Electoral Act, 2022.

An order nullifying and voiding all the votes scored by Tinubu in the presidential election in view of his nonqualification as a candidate of the APC.

Meanwhile, the fivemember panel of Justices of the PEPC led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, adjourned the hearing of the petition to June 9, 2023, to enable parties to obtain a copy of the Supreme Court judgment to enable parties to make informed decisions.


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