The Supreme Court is expected to deliver judgement today in the appeal seeking the disqualification of the president-elect, Bola Tinubu and the vice president-elect, Kashim Shettima, over alleged double nomination.
The apex court’s panel of justices led by Inyang Okoro on Monday fixed the date after listening to lawyers in the matter.
The appeal was brought by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) through their counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), alleging that Shettima had double nomination as senatorial candidate for Borno Central Senatorial District and vice-presidential candidate under the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The appeal was earlier dismissed by the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal for lack of locus standi and a cost of N5 million against the PDP. Dissatisfied, the party approached the apex court.
The PDP wants the apex court to hear the matter on its merit and determine the grounds set out for the suit.
In the suit filed on July 28, 2022, the PDP claimed that the double nomination breached the provisions of sections 29(1), 33, 35, and 84(1)(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
PDP submitted that Shettima was still the nominated senatorial candidate on July 14, 2022 having emerged in the May primary of the APC, when he was again nominated the vice presidential candidate.
The party submitted that he withdrew his senatorial nomination on July 15, 2022, and was by then in breach of Section 33 on multiple nominations.
However, on January 13, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja dismissed the suit on the grounds that the PDP lacked the locus standi.
Dissatisfied, the PDP quickly approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja in appeal number CA/ABJ/CV/108/2023 to determine the validity of the Tinubu/Shettima ticket for the 2023 presidential election.
The PDP told the appellate court to disqualify the APC, Tinubu and Shettima from contesting the February 25 presidential election and for an order nullifying their candidacy.
The PDP further asked the appellate court to make an order compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove their names from its list of nominated or sponsored candidates eligible to contest the election.
In their defence, APC, Tinubu and Shettima filed a preliminary objection asking the appellate court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.
They contended that the PDP lacked the locus standi to bring the action, adding that the matter was within the APC’s internal affairs and thus, non-justiciable.
Delivering the lead judgement of the panel of justices, Justice James Abundaga agreed with the submissions of the APC lawyers led by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and held that the matter was an internal affair of the party.
Justice Abundaga held that the trial court was right to have held that the PDP failed to establish its locus standi.
“The appellant, having failed to disclose its locus standi, this appeal fails and it is hereby dismissed,” he said.
He proceeded to award the cost of N5 million against the PDP lawyers led by J. Olotu.