The Supreme Court has confirmed that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the president-elect, was eligible to run in the February 25 presidential election. The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, filed an appeal challenging the legitimacy of Tinubu’s candidature, but a five-member panel of the supreme court found it to be without merit on Friday.
The PDP sought Tinubu’s disqualification in an appeal marked: SC/CV/501/2023 on the grounds that Senator Kashim Shettima, the vice president-elect, had allowed himself to be nominated for more than one seat prior to the general elections of 2023.
It informed the court that Shettima received two nominations.
One for the Borno Central Senatorial seat and the other for Vice President. The PDP said that Shettima’s dual nomination was a flagrant violation of Sections 29(1), 33, 35 and 84(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act, 2022, as amended.
In addition to asking the court to invalidate Tinubu and Shettima’s candidature, the appellant also requested that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, remove their names from the list of nominated or sponsored candidates who were qualified to run for president.
Meanwhile, the supreme court ruled that the PDP lacked locus standi (legal authority) to meddle in the business of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, which nominated both Tinubu and Shettima for the presidential election, in its lead judgement, which was given by Justice Adamu Jauro.
The Supreme Court maintained the verdicts that were made concurrently by the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court in Abuja, which had previously dismissed the PDP’s lawsuit.
It agreed with the respondents that section 285 (14) (c ) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and section 149 of the Electoral Act, 2022, did not confer the locus standi (legal right) to challenge the candidature of Shettima on the ground of double nomination.
The apex court held that section 84 of the Electoral Act only empowered an aspirant that participated in the primary election of a political party, to challenge the nomination of a candidate by the party.
It held that the PDP failed to show the injury it suffered as a result of the nomination by the APC, stressing that the law does not permit a political party to dabble in the domestic affairs of another political party.
The Supreme Court said the PDP was unable to prove that its civil rights and obligations were in danger of being infringed upon.
It described the appeal as the action of “a nosy busy-body and a meddlesome interloper that is peeping into the affairs of its neighbour.”
More so, the apex court berated the PDP for filing the appeal which it said was frivolous and capable of exposing the judiciary to public ridicule.
The apex court held that evidence before it showed that Shettima duly withdrew as the candidate of the APC in the Borno senatorial election, on July 6, 2022.
“In whichever angle this appeal is viewed, it is frivolous and bound to fail.
“From the trial court, down to this court, it has been a waste of precious judicial time.
“The instant appeal was unnecessary and counsel should do better to advise their client against filing this sort of suit in future,” Justice Jauro added.
While disregarding the appeal, the Supreme Court okayed N2 million damages that were awarded against the PDP, in favour of the respondents.
cc: Vanguard Ng