2023 Poll: Court Dismisses PDP’s Suit Seeking Tinubu, Shettima’s Disqualification

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, dismissed a suit by the Peoples Democratic Party seeking to disqualify the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress for the 2023 general elections, Bola Tinubu and his running mate, Kassim Shettima.

Justice Ekwo, in his Judgment, held that the PDP lacked locus standi to institute the suit.

The court reasoned that the suit was caught by the principle of “issue estoppel”, describing the suit as an abuse of court process.

Justice Ekwo gave the judgement in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1734/2022, wherein the PDP had sued the Independent National Electoral Commission, APC, Tinubu and Shettima as 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Ekwo agreed with the defendants that the PDP had no locus standi to file the matter.

The judge otes that where there is no locus, it has no jurisdiction to adjudicate on an issue.

Justice Ekwo said the action was “incompetent for lack of locus standi”.

Ekwo held that the matter bordered on the internal affairs of the APC in which the PDP lacked locus to file the suit.

On argument about non-disclosure of cause of action against the respondents, the judge said that there was a nexus between locus standi and a cause of action.

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He, therefore, said that since the PDP had no locus standi, it also did not have any cause of action against the defendants.

The court also agreed with the defendants that the suit was an abuse of court process.

“It is express in the provision of Section 29 (5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 that the right of action on the matter for which the applicant/respondent (PDP) has filed this action is given to ‘any aspirant who participated in the primaries of his political party’,” he said.

The trial judge stated it had been established that the PDP was not an aspirant of the APC.

“Therefore, there is no iota of law which supports this action. It is on this ground that I find that this case is an abuse of process and I so hold,” he said.

Justice Ekwo, consequently, dismissed the suit for constituting an abuse of court process.

Recall that the PDP hadon July 28, 2022, challenged the validity of Tinubu to contest for the 2023 presidential election as APC candidate on the ground that Shettima’s nomination as his running mate was in breach of the provisions of Sections 29(1), 33, 35 and 84{1)}(2)} of the Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended).

It argued that Shettima’s nomination to contest the position of vice president and Borno Central Senatorial seat contravened the law.

The PDP, which sought an order disqualifying the APC, Tinubu and Shettima from contesting the presidential election scheduled for February 25, also sought an order nullifying their candidacy.

It further sought an order compelling INEC to remove their names from its list of nominated or sponsored candidates eligible to contest the poll.

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