The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, on Thursday, reserved its judgement on a suit the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, filed to disqualify the president-elect, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and his running mate, Kassim Shettima.
A three-member panel of Justices of the court adjourned to deliver its verdict on the appeal marked: CA/ABJ/CV/108/2023, after all the parties adopted their final briefs of argument.
Specifically, PDP, whose candidate, Atiku Abubakar, came second in the presidential election that held on February 25, is contending that the APC candidate, Tinubu, who was declared the winner of the presidential contest, was legally ineligible to participate in the poll.
It told the court that the manner the APC and Tinubu nominated Shettima as a Vice Presidential candidate for the election, was in gross breach of the provisions of Sections 29(1), 33, 35 and 84(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act, 2022, as amended.
According to the PDP, Shettima, was nominated twice, both for the Vice Presidential position, as well as for Borno Central Senatorial seat, an action it argued contravened the law.
Aside from asking the court to nullify Tinubu and Shettima's candidacy, the appellant further sought an order to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to expunge their names from the list of nominated or sponsored candidates eligible to contest the election.
PDP prayed the appellate court to set aside the January 13 judgement of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which dismissed legal issues it raised against the candidacy of both Tinubu and Shettima.
It argued that Justice Inyang Ekwo of the trial court erred in law and arrived at an unjust conclusion that paved way for the two Respondents to participate in the presidential election.
It will be recalled that Tinubu and Shettima had in a joint preliminary objection the filed, challenged the competence of the suit and the jurisdiction of the court to entertain it.
They contended that PDP was bereft of the locus standi (legal right) to institute the action against them.
The duo maintained that no portion of the law conferred on the PDP, the right to dabble into the domestic affair of another political party, especially on the issue of the nomination of its candidates for an election.
They argued that the opposition party failed to disclose any reasonable cause of action, adding that issues the PDP raised in the suit were non-justiceable.
In his judgement, Justice Ekwo upheld the preliminary objection and dismissed the suit for lacking in merit.
Besides, he held that the case was caught by the principle of estoppel, as the issue that was raised against the Tinubu and his running mate, was previously decided by another court.
Justice Ekwo held that the suit was an abuse of court process and as such, deserved to be dismissed, adding that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain it.