Why Appeal Court dismissed PDP’s suit seeking disqualification of Tinubu, Shettima

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja on  Friday dismissed the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) which sought to disqualify President-elect Bola Tinubu and his running-mate Kashim Shettima from participating in the February 25 presidential election.


The appellate court held that the court cannot be used to perform illegality. The court also slammed a N5 million fine on PDP to be paid personally by counsel to the appellant.

Recall that the PDP had approached the Court seeking to stop Tinubu and Shettima from participating in the general election. It claimed that Shettima had double nominations as a vice presidential candidate and a Borno Central senatorial candidate.

The backstory

In 2022, PDP first approached the Federal High Court challenging the candidacy of Tinubu and Shettima

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The PDP argued that Shettima’s nomination as the 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).

PDP also contended that it was also a gross breach of the provisions of Sections 29(1), 33, 35 and 84(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act, 2022, as amended.

They prayed the court to nullify Tinubu and Shettima’s candidacy as the manner the APC and Tinubu nominated Shettima as a Vice Presidential candidate for the election breached relevant provisions of the Electoral Act.

In a preliminary objection, Tinubu and Shettima argued that PDP lacked the right to institute the case.

They contended that PDP failed to disclose any reasonable cause of action as the law did not confer on PDP the right to interfere inside the internal affair of the APC.

While Delivering judgement on the suit, Justice Ekwo dismissed PDP’s suit for lacking merit after holding that the issue raised against Tinubu and his running mate, was previously decided by another court.

The judge also held that the suit was an abuse of the court process and as such, deserved to be dismissed and that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain it.

Not satisfied with this decision, PDP approached the Appellate court seeking to set aside the decision of the lower court.

PDP prayed the appellate court to set aside the January 13 judgement of the Federal High Court in Abuja,

How the Appellate Court ruled

In the unanimous judgement, the Appellate court dismissed the appeal marked: CA/ABJ/CV/108/2023 for lacking in merit.

Justice Abundaga, describing the PDP as a busy body, held that the trial court was right to have held that the PDP failed to establish its legal basis.

The appellant, having failed to disclose its locus standi, this appeal fails and it is hereby dismissed,”  The court ruled.

The court also affirmed the decision of the federal high court that held that PDP failed to establish that it had a legal basis (locus standi) to file the case.

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