Supreme Court dismisses PDP’s suit against Tinubu and Shettima over ‘double nomination’

The Supreme Court of Nigeria has dismissed a suit filed 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 February 25, 2023 election.

A five-member panel of the supreme court held on Friday that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lacked the locus standi to institute the suit. The panel said the PDP is not a member of the APC.

The PDP had claimed that Shettima’s nomination as Tinubu’s running mate was in breach of the provisions of sections 29(1), 33, 35, and 84(1)(2) of the Electoral Act.

The party said that on July 14, when he accepted the nomination for vice-presidential candidate, Shettima was still the APC's candidate for Borno central senatorial district.

However, respondents stated that Shettima's senate nomination was withdrawn on July 6, 2022.

The respondents claimed that the complaint was statute barred because it was filed 15 days after the cause of action rather than the 14 days needed by law.

They also claimed that the contended issue is an internal party matter and that the appellants lacked locus standi to file the litigation.

The appellants, however, contended that section 284(14)(c) of the constitution allows them the power to file the suit because it is not an internal party matter, but rather a violation of the Electoral Act.

The Supreme Court ruled in its decision that clause 284(14)(c) of the constitution does not permit a party, no matter how afflicted and angry, from interfering in the business of another party.

“The position of the law has always been that no political party can challenge the nomination of a candidate of another political party,” Adamu Jauro, who read the lead judgment, said.

“The position did not change in section 285(14)(c) of the constitution. No matter pained or disgruntled a political party is with the way and manner another political party is conducting or has conducted its affairs concerning its nomination of candidates for any position, it must keep mum and remain an onlooker for he lacks locus standi to challenge such nomination in court.

“Section 285(14)(c) of the constitution only allows a political party to challenge the decisions and activities of INEC disqualifying its own candidate from participating in an election.”

The apex court added that the appeal is frivolous and was bound to fail.

The dismissal of the PDP’s suit is a major victory for the APC and Tinubu. It paves the way for Tinubu to be sworn in as president on May 29, 2023.

The PDP has said that it will appeal the Supreme Court’s decision. However, it is unlikely that the appeal will be successful. The Supreme Court’s decision is final and cannot be appealed to any other court.

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