The Supreme Court yesterday fixed May 26 to deliver its judgement on an appeal challenging the eligibility of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to contest the presidential election that held on February 25.
The appeal, marked SC/CV/501/2023, which was brought before the court by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is seeking to disqualify Tinubu and the Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima.
PDP contended that the manner the APC and Tinubu nominated Shettima as a vice presidential candidate for the election was in gross breach of the provisions of Sections 29(1), 33, 35 and 84(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act, 2022, as amended.
It told the court that there was evidence to establish that Shettima was nominated twice, both for the vice presidential position and Borno Central senatorial seat, an action the PDP maintained was in contravention of the law.
Aside from asking the court to nullify Tinubu and Shettima’s candidacy, the appellant equally applied for an order to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to expunge their names from the list of nominated or sponsored candidates that were eligible to contest the presidential poll.
Meanwhile, a five-member panel of the apex court, led by Justice Inyang Okoro, okayed the matter for judgement, after all the parties adopted their final briefs of argument.
While the PDP, through its lawyer, Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, urged the court to uphold its case by setting aside the judgement of the Court of Appeal on the matter, counsel for Tinubu and the APC, Mr. Babatunde Ogala, SAN, sought the dismissal of the suit on the premise that it was bereft of any merit.
Besides, the respondents contended that the matter had become status barred in view of the expiration of the period allowed for the hearing and determination of such pre-election case.
On its part, INEC, through its lawyer, Mr. Adebiyi Adetosoye, said it was in support of Tinubu and APC’s demand for the appeal to be dismissed with substantial cost.
More so, all the respondents queried the locus-standi (legal right) of the PDP to institute the action, as well as the jurisdiction of the court to dabble into the issue of nomination of a candidate for an election, which they argued bordered on the domestic affair of a political party.