In a significant ruling, the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has struck out the petitions filed by the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) against President Bola Tinubu and his Vice President, Kashim Shettima, citing a lack of merit.
The PEPC not only dismissed APM’s case but also described it as “incompetent.” The court held that the issues raised by APM in its petition constituted pre-election matters that fell under the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court.
Justice Haruna Tsammani, the Chairman of the panel, delivered the ruling.
Furthermore, the tribunal dismissed APM’s petition against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and four other respondents. The list of respondents included INEC, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, Kashim Shettima, and Kabiru Masari.
Justice Tsammani addressed each argument presented by APM and concluded that the petitioners failed to prove their case, rendering the petition without merit. The judge also upheld the preliminary objections raised by all the respondents, challenging the competence of the petition.
Justice Tsammani noted that since the APM’s petition revolved around the qualification of Tinubu to contest the presidential election, the party should have taken its case to court within 14 days after Tinubu’s nomination by the APC. He further ruled that since the cause of action related to a pre-election matter, the APM did not have the locus standi (legal standing) to challenge Tinubu’s nomination.
Additionally, the judge emphasized that the law did not permit one political party to question the nomination process of another political party. Furthermore, he stated that an invalid nomination or double nomination did not qualify as grounds for disqualification in presidential elections, as provided in sections 131 and 137 of the Constitution.
The APM had sought to invalidate the votes cast for the President based on the double nomination of his vice, Shettima. The APM argued that at the time Shettima became the vice presidential candidate of the APC, he was also a senatorial candidate in Borno State.
The case presented by the APM was opened and closed on June 21, after calling one private witness.
Further details of the ruling are expected to emerge in due course.