The Supreme Court is expected to deliver judgement today in the appeal seeking the disqualification of the president-elect, Bola Tinubu and the vice president-elect, Kashim Shettima, over alleged double nomination.
The apex court’s panel of justices led by Inyang Okoro on Monday fixed the date after listening to lawyers in the matter.
The appeal was brought by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) through their counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), alleging that Shettima had double nomination as senatorial candidate for Borno Central Senatorial District and vice-presidential candidate under the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The appeal was earlier dismissed by the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal for lack of locus standi and a cost of N5 million against the PDP. Dissatisfied, the party approached the apex court.
The PDP wants the apex court to hear the matter on its merit and determine the grounds set out for the suit.
In the suit filed on July 28, 2022, the PDP claimed that the double nomination breached the provisions of sections 29(1), 33, 35, and 84(1)(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
PDP submitted that Shettima was still the nominated senatorial candidate on July 14, 2022 having emerged in the May primary of the APC, when he was again nominated the vice presidential candidate.
The party submitted that he withdrew his senatorial nomination on July 15, 2022, and was by then in breach of Section 33 on multiple nominations.
However, on January 13, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja dismissed the suit on the grounds that the PDP lacked the locus standi.
Dissatisfied, the PDP quickly approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja in appeal number CA/ABJ/CV/108/2023 to determine the validity of the Tinubu/Shettima ticket for the 2023 presidential election.
The PDP told the appellate court to disqualify the APC, Tinubu and Shettima from contesting the February 25 presidential election and for an order nullifying their candidacy.
The PDP further asked the appellate court to make an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove their names from its list of nominated or sponsored candidates eligible to contest the election.
In their defence, APC, Tinubu and Shettima filed a preliminary objection asking the appellate court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.
They contended that the PDP lacked the locus standi to bring the action, adding that the matter was within the APC’s internal affairs and thus, non-justiciable.
Delivering the lead judgement of the panel of justices, Justice James Abundaga agreed with the submissions of the APC lawyers led by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and held that the matter was an internal affair of the party.
Justice Abundaga held that the trial court was right to have held that the PDP failed to establish its locus standi.
“The appellant, having failed to disclose its locus standi, this appeal fails and it is hereby dismissed,” he said.
He proceeded to award the cost of N5 million against the PDP lawyers led by J. Olotu.
Presidential candidate fined N40m over frivolous suit to stop Tinubu
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has imposed N40 million fine on the former presidential candidate of Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Ambrose Owuru, for his suit seeking to stop the inauguration of Bola Tinubu as president.
A three-member panel of justices presided over by Justice Jamil Tukur yesterday ordered Owuru to pay the sum to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Tinubu, whom he joined as respondents in the matter.
Justice Tukur held that Owuru embarked on a gross abuse of the court process by filing a frivolous, vexatious and irritating suit to provoke the respondents.
The Court of Appeal held that the grievances of Owuru against the 2019 presidential election were not only strange but uncalled for because the grievances had been pursued up to Supreme Court and were dismissed for want of merit.
He said the action of Owuru to resuscitate the case that died in 2019 at the Supreme Court was aimed at making the lower courts go on a collision course with the supremacy of the apex court.
The appellate court had on May 19 reserved the matter for judgement after listening to parties in the matter.
Owuru claimed in suit number CA/CV/259/2023 that he won the 2019 presidential election and was impacted by the rescheduling of the polls and that holding the May 29 inauguration would amount to the usurpation of his mandate.
Earlier, counsel to Tinubu, Adelani Ajibade, pleaded with the appellate court to sustain the decision of the Supreme Court on October 11, 2019, and dismiss the appeal with a cost of N20 million.
Counsel to INEC, Hassan Aminu, also asked the appellate court to dismiss the application.