Presidential Election: APM’s Petition Against Tinubu Being Adjudicated
The Allied Peoples Movement, APM, filed a case to invalidate President Bola Tinubu’s election, and the Presidential Election Case Court, PEPC, sitting in Abuja, has started to rule on the appeal.
Justice Haruna Tsammani’s five-member court panel had previously stated that it would not read the entirety of the decision, including all of the points raised during the hearing.
The panel emphasised that despite the consolidation of the three cases contesting President Tinubu’s election, the petitions will retain their own identities.
While the appeal submitted by the Labour Party and Peter Obi, the party’s candidate in the February 25 presidential election, was called first, the panel began its judgement with the APM.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, President Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and Mr. Kabiru Masari are listed as the first through fifth defendants in APM’s appeal with the file number CA/PEPC/04/2023.
All of the defendants asked the court to dismiss the matter for lack of competence during the hearing, in contrast to the petitioner’s lawyer, Mr. Andrew Malgwi, SAN, who requested the court to fire Tinubu and revoke the Certificate of Return that INEC had issued to him.
Through a group of attorneys under the direction of Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, President Tinubu argued that the APM’s suit against him was without merit.
He said that the Supreme Court had already ruled on the sole claim made by the party to demand his removal from office—that his Vice President, Kashim Shettima, had been nominated twice by the APC for various electoral offices.
President Tinubu contended that APM’s petition was devoid of substance and failed to reveal a plausible cause of action against him.
Likewise, both counsel for the APC, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, and that of INEC, Mr. Steven Adehi, SAN, separately urged the court to dismiss the petition.
While the APC argued before the court that Tinubu was duly nominated and qualified to run in the presidential election that took place on February 25, INEC backed the results of the election.
The Justice Tsammani-led panel declared that it would inform the parties of the decision date after hearing from all of them.
It may be recalled that the APM ended its investigation on June 21 after one witness testified in court.
APM specifically argued in its appeal that Tinubu’s candidature was invalidated by the withdrawal of Mr. Masari, who had been previously nominated as the APC’s vice presidential candidate, in light of Sections 131(c) and 142 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The party argued that there was a gap of about three weeks between the period that Masari, who was listed as the 5th Respondent in the petition, expressed intention to withdraw, the actual withdrawal of his purported nomination, and the time Tinubu purportedly replaced him with Senator Shettima.
It further argued that Tinubu’s candidature had elapsed as at the time he nominated Shettima as Masari’s replacement.
According to the petitioner, as at the time Tinubu announced Shettima as the Vice Presidential candidate, “he was no longer in a position, constitutionally, to nominate a running mate since he had ceased to be a presidential candidate of the 2nd Respondent having regards to the provisions of Section 142 of the 1999 Constitution”.
More so, APM contended that Masari’s initial nomination activated the joint ticket principle enshrined in the Constitution, stressing that his subsequent withdrawal invalidated the said joint ticket.
It, therefore, prayed the court to declare that Shettima was not qualified to contest as the vice presidential candidate of the APC as of February 25, when the election was conducted by INEC, having violated the provisions of Section 35 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
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