Court Dismisses PDP’s Appeal to Disqualify APC Candidates

Appeal Court Upholds Ruling on PDP's Lack of Locus Standi in Disqualification Case

Court Dismisses PDP's Appeal to Disqualify APC Candidates

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has dismissed a case brought forth by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to disqualify Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Kassim Shettima as the presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25 election. The PDP had appealed to the court to overturn the January 13 judgment by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which dismissed the suit on the grounds that the PDP lacked locus standi to initiate the lawsuit.

On Friday evening, a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal upheld the ruling that the PDP failed to establish its locus standi. Justice James Abundaga, in agreement with the respondents’ lawyers, including Thomas Ojo of Lateef Fagbemi and Co, labeled the PDP as a busybody that interfered in the internal affairs of the APC.

The respondents in the appeal were the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the APC, Tinubu, and Shettima. Justice Abundaga maintained that the trial court was correct in ruling that the PDP failed to establish its locus standi. He dismissed the appeal, affirming the judgment of the Federal High Court, and imposed a N5 million cost against the appellant’s lawyer, J. O. Olotu.

The PDP, in a suit filed on July 28, 2022, had questioned the validity of the Tinubu/Shettima ticket for the 2023 presidential election, asserting that Shettima’s nomination as the running mate contravened Sections 29(1), 33, 35, and 84{1)}(2)} of the Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended). The PDP claimed that Shettima’s double nominations, as vice-presidential candidate and as the candidate for the Borno Central Senatorial seat, violated the law.

The PDP sought to disqualify the APC, Tinubu, and Shettima from contesting the presidential election scheduled for February 25 and requested an order nullifying their candidacy. Additionally, the PDP asked the court to order INEC to remove their names from the list of nominated or sponsored candidates eligible to contest the election.

The defendants argued that the plaintiff lacked the locus standi to initiate the case, which effectively challenged the APC’s decision and nomination of candidates for the election. They argued that these matters were within the party’s internal affairs and, as such, non-justiciable.

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