The Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to disqualify Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress and Peter Obi of the Labour Party in the 2023 presidential election over placeholders substitution.
In his judgement on Monday, Justice Donatus Okorowo held that the suit was unknown to law and hence, described it as “an abuse of court process.”
Okorowo also held that the suit did not disclose any reasonable cause of action against the respondents.
“When a court finds out that a suit is an abuse of court process, the court has the right to dismiss it,” he stated.
KEMI FILANI NEWS recalls that PDP had, in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1016/2022, had asked the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to stop Tinubu and Obi from replacing their running mates with Kashim Shettima and Datti Baba-Ahmed, respectively.
The ruling APC had earlier presented Kabiru Masari as Tinubu’s running mate, while Labour Party, Obi also submitted Doyin Okupe as Obi’s running mate before replacing them both.
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The main opposition also asked the court to disqualify Tinubu and Obi unless they contest alongside their placeholder running mates, Masari and Okupe.
The PDP sought an order barring the INEC from replacing the running mates of Tinubu and Obi.
However, the PDP asked the court to determine if Tinubu and Obi are bound by the submission of Masari and Okupe as their running mates based on the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the constitution, Section 29(1), 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2022.
And also, if “by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sections 29(1), 31, 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, 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.”
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 Tinubu and Obi must be bound by their submission.
The party asked the court to rule that the presidential candidates be disqualified for substituting their running mates’ names.
The PDP also based its argument on the fact that the term ‘placeholder’ is unknown to Nigerian law.
The party added, “The Electoral Act makes no provisions whatsoever for placeholder or temporary running mates. 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.”