A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the appointment of placeholders by the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Labour Party (LP) – Bola Tinubu and Peter Obi.
Justice Donatus Okorowo, in a judgment on Monday, held that the suit was an abuse of court process because issues raised by the plaintiff were unknown to law.
Justice Okorowo also held that the suit, prosecuted for the PDP by Gordy Uche (SAN), did not disclose any reasonable cause of action against the respondents, a development that robbed the court of jurisdiction to hear the case.
“When a court finds out that a suit is an abuse of court process, the court has the right to dismiss it,” the judge further held.
The PDP had, by the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1016/2022 challenged the propriety of the nomination of placeholders by the presidential candidates of the APC and LP, claiming among others, that such procedure was unlawful.
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Named with Tinubu, APC, Obi and LP are Kabiru Masari (placeholder for APC), Doyin Ojuoe (placeholder for LP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The PDP contended that the term ‘placeholder’ is unknown to law in the country, adding that the Electoral Act makes no provisions whatsoever for placeholder or temporary running mates.
It further argued that 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 and could not be overridden by the subsequent nomination of Sen. Kashim Shettima and Sen. Datti Baba-Ahmed.
The PDP had, among others, prayed the court to declare 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.