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Court Dismisses PDP’s Case,Refuses To Disqualify Tinubu

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A Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawsuit on Friday that sought to disqualify Sen. Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, and Mr. Kassim Shettima for the general elections in 2023.

Fidel Info reports that Justice Inyang Ekwo dismissed the lawsuit in his ruling on the grounds that the PDP lacked locus standi to bring it.

The lawsuit, according to Justice Ekwo, was a misuse of the legal system and was caught by the principle of issue estoppel.

Reports state that the PDP, in its originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1734/2022, had sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, Tinubu and Shettima as 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

In the suit filed on July 28, 2022, the party challenged the validity of Sen. 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 claimed that Shettima’s candidacy to run for the vice presidential post and the Borno Central senatorial seat was illegal.

The PDP also asked for an order to void Tinubu, Shettima, and the APC’s eligibility to run in the presidential election set for February 25.

Additionally, it asked for a court order for INEC to strike their names from the list of candidates who had been nominated or supported and were entitled to fight the election.

However, the defendants requested that the court dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction in their preliminary objection, which was argued by Thomas Ojo and filed by Lateef Fagbemi, SSN.

They maintained that the plaintiff (PDP), who was always contesting the political party’s choice and its nomination of candidates for the election, lacked locus standi, or legal standing, to bring the lawsuit.

They said that the act in question was an APC internal matter, which they claimed was not subject to the legal system.

Justice Ekwo concurred with the defendants in passing judgment that the PDP lacked locus standi to bring the case.

Where there is no locus, the court lacks jurisdiction, he claims.

He claimed that the court determined the action lacked locus standi and was therefore incompetent.

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

In 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 court process.

“It is expressed 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 judge said that it had been established that the PDP was not an aspirant of the APC.

“Therefore, there is no iota of law which support 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 the court process.

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