The people’s democratic party (PDP) has sued Labour party(LP) and All Progressive Congress(APC) for replacing their running mates after June 17 deadline.
Recall that in order to beat the deadline set by INEC to find a running mate for their presidential campaign, LP and APC presidential candidate both had to make compromises and used temporary placeholders.
APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu initially nominated Kabiru Masari as his running mate while LP presidential candidate Peter Obi nominated nominated Doyin Okupe. Recently, Peter Obi replaced his running mate with Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed while Bola Tinubu replaced his running mate with Senator Kashim Shettima.
This action was frowned upon by PDP and now, they currently seek a court order to bar Independent National Electoral Commission from replacing Tinubu and Obi’s running mates.
In the originating summons with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1016/2022, INEC, APC, Tinubu, Masari, Labour Party, Obi and Okupe are the seven respondents in the case.
According to Punch, the PDP asked the court to determine if by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the constitution, Section 29(1), 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, and INEC’s timetable, Tinubu and Obi are bound by the submission of Masari and Okupe respectively as their running mates.
The party also asked the court to determine if “by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sections 29(1), 31, 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, the first defendant (INEC) can validly accept any change or substitution of the 4th (Masari) and 7th (Okupe) defendants as running mates of the 3rd (APC) and 6th (Labour Party) defendants.”
The opposition party wants the court to rule that both Tinubu and Obi will be disqualified the moment they substitute the names of their running mates.
The party also seeks five reliefs which include a declaration that by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the constitution, Section 29(1), 31 and 33 of the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC’s timetable, both Tinubu and Obi must be bound by their submission.
“A declaration that by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Sections 29(1), 31, 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, the 1st defendant’s (INEC’s) election timetable, the 3rd (Tinubu) and 6th (Obi) cannot validly contest the 2023 Presidential election without the 4th (Masari) and 7th (Obi) respondents as their respective running mates,” one of the reliefs reads.
The PDP further argued that the term ‘placeholder’ is unknown to Nigerian law.
The party said, “The Electoral Act makes no provisions whatsoever for placeholder or temporary running mates. The acts of the 2nd (APC), 3rd (Tinubu), 5th (Labour Party ) and 6th (Obi) defendants in nominating and forwarding the names of the 4th (Masari) and 7th (Okupe) defendants as running mates for the 2023 Presidential elections is valid and subsisting.”
The Punch reports that Labour Party’s lawyer, Alex Ejesieme, and the Head of Legal Directorate, Tinubu Campaign Organisation, Babatunde Ogala (SAN) are aware of the suit and have received the court processes.
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