The Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) has struck out the petition filed by the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) against President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima.
The court,in its ruling which was read by Justice Haruna Tsammani, the panel’s chairman,deemed the APM’s case as lacking competence because it involved pre-election matters, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court.
The PEPC in a ruling, upheld the preliminary objections raised against the competence of the petition by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Bola Tinubu, Kashim Shettima and Kabir Masari.
Justice Haruna Tsammani, who read the lead ruling, held that the issue of nomination, which is a pre-election matter, is outside the scope of the court’s jurisdiction, sitting as an election tribunal.
He held that the issues brought before the tribunal are pre-election matters, which ought to have been at a high court, adding that the timeframe of 180 days within which to determine the issue had elapsed.
APM had contended that Tinubu and Shettima were not validly nominated to contest the February 25 presidential election. They argued that by the combined reading of sections 131(c) and 142(2) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 and Section 133 of the Electoral Act made them to invalid.
They contend that when Kabiru Masari announced his withdrawal as an APC placeholder on June 24, 2022 to the date Shettima’s name was forwarded to INEC on July 14, 2022, was 21 days which breached Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022, which provides for 14 days for the replacement of a candidate for an election.
However, Justice Tsammani, through the court ruling, held that the petitioner lacked the locus standi to have brought the petition, b cause the law did not allow a political party to query the process adopted by another political party in nominating its candidate.
The PEPC Chairman also stated that invalid nomination or double nomination did not qualify as a ground for disqualification in respect of presidential election as provided in sections 131 and 137 of the Constitutional.
He also held that Masari, who was nominated as placeholder by the APC (for the position of the Vice President) was not a necessary party to the petition because he was neither a candidate nor did he win the contested election.