On Friday, the Supreme Court cleared the way for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the candidate for president from the All Progressives Congress, to be sworn in on May 29.
In a unanimous ruling by a five-member panel, the supreme court dismissed an appeal the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, brought to question Tinubu’s ability to run in the February 25 presidential election as lacking substance.
It determined that the appeal, with the filing number SC/CV/501/2023, was made in bad faith and emphasized that the PDP, whose candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, finished second in the presidential election, lacked locus standi (the legal right) to contest a nomination made by another political party.
The PDP had asked the court to nullify Tinubu’s candidacy in their appeal, claiming that the Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, had let himself be nominated for more than one seat ahead of the 2023 general elections.
It informed the court that Shettima received two nominations—one for the Vice Presidential position and the other for the Borno Central Senatorial seat.
According to PDP, Shettima’s dual nomination violated Sections 29(1), 33, 35, and 84(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act of 2022, as amended, in flagrant fashion.
To force the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to remove Tinubu and Shettima’s names from the list of nominated or sponsored candidates eligible to run for president, the appellant also asked the court to invalidate their candidacies.
However, the top court charged the PDP with seeking to meddle in the internal affairs of the APC, which nominated both Tinubu and Shettima for the presidency, in its lead judgment, which was given on Friday by Justice Adamu Jauro.
It maintained the concurrent rulings of the Federal High Court in Abuja and the Court of Appeal, which had dismissed the complaint as frivolous because the PDP had failed to reveal a sufficient basis for Tinubu’s liability.
The top court agreed with the respondents that neither section 149 of the Electoral Act of 2022 nor section 285 (14) (c) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, gave the appellant the right to contest Tinubu’s candidacy based on Shettima’s alleged double nomination by the APC. The supreme court ruled that section 84 of the Electoral Act only gave an aspirant the right to contest the party’s nomination of a candidate if they had taken part in the party’s primary election.
The PDP was found to have failed to prove that the APC’s nomination caused it harm, and it was further stated that it was against the law for a political party to meddle in another’s party’s domestic affairs.
Furthermore, the top court ruled that PDP was unable to demonstrate that its civil rights and responsibilities were in jeopardy.
It concluded that because the lower courts lacked the necessary jurisdiction, they were correct to reject to consider PDP’s complaint on the merits.
The PDP was further attacked by the apex court, which labeled the appeal as the work of “a nosy busy-body and a meddling interloper that is peeping into the affairs of its neighbor.”
Justice Jauro further pointed out that the case was now statute barred since the 180 days legally required to resolve this pre-election dispute had already passed.
In a similar incident, on Friday, the Federal High Court in Abuja rejected to give a temporary restraining order to halt Tinubu’s oath of office.
The court found that it lacked the necessary authority to approve the petition included in an ex-parte application filed before it by three persons who represented themselves as Concerned Nigerians, according to a judgment that Justice James Omotosho gave.