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

JUSTICE Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has dismissed a suit by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), seeking the disqualification of Bola Tinubu and his vice, Mr. Kassim Shettima, for the 2023 general elections.

Delivering judgment, Justice Ekwo, dismissed the suit on the ground that the PDP lacked locus standi to institute the suit.

Justice Ekwo, who held that the case was caught by the principle of issue estoppel, described the suit as an abuse of the court process.

In its originating summons, the PDP challenged the validity of Tinubu to contest for the 2023 presidential election as APC candidate on the ground that Mr. 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 Feb. 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.

But the defendants, in their preliminary objection, urged the court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.

They argued that the PDP lacked the locus standi (legal right) to file the case, which invariably was challenging the political party’s decision and its nomination of candidates for the polls.

They further submitted that such an act was an internal affair of APC which they argued was non-justiciable.

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

According to him, where there is no locus, the court has no jurisdiction.

He said the court found that the action was incompetent for lack of locus standi.

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

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

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

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

Justice Ekwo, Subsequently, dismissed the suit, constituting it an abuse of the court process.

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