Supreme Court dismisses APM appeal against President Tinubu

Salihu Ali, Abuja 

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The Supreme Court of Nigeria has dismissed the appeal by the Allied People’s Movement (APM), challenging the February 25 presidential elections on the grounds of the double nomination of Vice President Kashim Shettima.

Justice Inyang Okoro, while leading seven panels of justices, dismissed the appeal after its dramatic withdrawal by counsel to the APM, Chukwuma Umeh SAN.

In its notice of appeal marked before the Supreme Court, APM is seeking an order setting aside the return and declaration of Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election on the grounds that it was made in violation of Section 142(1) of the 1999 Constitution.

Before that, the party had prayed the Apex Court to allow its appeal and set aside the judgement of the PEPC for being perverse and having occasioned a miscarriage of justice against it.

The APM has equally prayed the Supreme Court to order that Tinubu was not qualified to contest as the presidential candidate of the APC, having violated 142 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.

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It wants a declaration that, having regard to the joint-ticket principle enshrined in Section 142(1) of the 1999 constitution, the withdrawal of Kabir Masari as the vice presidential candidate of the APC by operation of the law amounted to automatic withdrawal and invalidation of the candidature of Tinubu as the presidential candidate.

The APM is equally pressing for an order of court nullifying and voiding all the votes scored by Tinubu in the disputed election that was conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in view of his non-qualification as a candidate of the APC.

The APM’s appeal, which is predicated on 10 grounds distilled into three issues by its legal team, faulted the September 6 judgement of the PEPC, dismissing its petition for lack of locus standi.

APM contended that the PEPC painstakingly failed to consider the provisions of sections 130, 137, 139, 142, and 239 of the 1999 Constitution, as well as sections 29, 31, 33 and 34 of the Electoral Act, 2022, as they apply to its quest for the validity or otherwise of the said election of Tinubu and Shettima as president and vice president, respectively.

That by holding that its petition is a pre-election matter, the PEPC erred in law when it misinterpreted Section 142 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as a pre-election provision.

That its petition was not founded solely on nomination, but primarily that the 3rd respondent (Tinubu) contested the election without a lawful associate running as his vice president.

That its complaint is not predicated on sections 285 (9) or 285 (14) of the 1999 Constitution as erroneously held by the lower court and that by striking out the name of Kabir Masari from the petition, the PEPC unwittingly divested itself of its jurisdiction.

After listening to the counsel to the APM, Justice Okoro dismissed the appeal.

The Supreme Court held that, same Kashim Shetima matter was dealt with by the court in PDP versus Shetima and others and therefore there was “no need to rewrite the judgement.