PDP’s lawsuit against Tinubu and Peter Obi is dismissed by the court
A lawsuit brought by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Bola Tinubu and Peter Obi, the candidates for president of the All Progressives Congress and Labour Party, respectively, was dismissed by the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.
Justice Donatus Okorowo ruled that the lawsuit was illegal on Monday and referred to it as “an abuse of the court process” as a result.
Mr. Okorowo held that the lawsuit did not disclose any plausible grounds for action against the respondents and that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.
“A court has the right to dismiss a suit when it determines that there has been an abuse of the legal process,” he said.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, Mr. Tinubu, Kabiru Masari, Labour Party, Mr. Obi, and Doyin Okupe were named as the first through eighth respondents in a lawsuit filed by the PDP with the filing number FHC/ABJ/CS/1016/2022.
The PDP had requested the court to order INEC to stop Messrs. Tinubu and Obi from substituting Kashim Shettima and Datti Baba-Ahmed as their running partners, respectively.
In addition, the PDP requested that Messrs. Tinubu and Obi be disqualified unless they run against Messrs. Masari and Okupe, who are serving as their temporary running mates.
The PDP requested an order preventing the INEC from substituting Tinubu and Obi as running partners in the original summons with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1016/2022.
To meet the INEC deadline of June 17, Mr. Tinubu has selected Mr. Masari as a substitute running partner or stand-in.
Additionally, Mr. Obi had named Okupe, his campaign manager, as a stand-in running companion. However, INEC provided a grace time to change their names of roughly one month.
Following several weeks of deliberations, Messrs. Tinubu and Obi, respectively, nominated Messrs. Shettima and Baba-Ahmed, while Messrs. Masari and Okupe tendered their resignations.
However, the PDP sought the court to rule on whether Messrs. Tinubu and Obi are constrained by the nomination of Messrs. Masari and Okupe as their running mates under the combined interpretation of Sections 142(1) of the constitution, 29(1), 31, and 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, and INEC’s timetable.
The party further urged the court to decide whether “the first defendant (INEC) can validly accept any change or substitution of the fourth (Masari) and seventh (Okupe) defendants as running mates of the third (APC) and sixth (Labour Party) defendants by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Sections 29(1), 31, and 33 of the Electoral Act 2022.”
The PDP sought five reliefs, including a declaration that by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the constitution, Section 29(1), 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC’s timetable, both Messrs Tinubu and Obi must be bound by their submission.
The party petitioned the court to declare that the presidential candidates are ineligible because they used the names of their running mates instead of their own. The PDP also based its argument on the fact that the term ‘placeholder’ is unknown to Nigerian law.
“There are absolutely no provisions for temporary or placeholder running mates in the Electoral Act. The acts of the second (APC), third (Tinubu), fifth (Labour Party ), and sixth (Obi) defendants in nominating and forwarding the names of the 4th (Masari) and seventh (Okupe) defendants as running mates for the 2023 Presidential election is valid and subsisting,” the party added.