The Allied Peoples Movement (APM) has insisted on taking its case before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) to challenge President Bola Tinubu’s victory in the last election.
The APM is questioning the legality of Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima’s joint ticket, claiming, among other things, that Shettima had double nomination, which rendered the joint ticket invalid.
The PEPC had suspended proceedings in the matter on May 30 to allow parties to obtain and study a Supreme Court judgement delivered on May 26 dismissing a case by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in which the party sought to void the APC’s joint ticket of Tinubu and Shettima as presidential and vice presidential candidates in the last election.
In its case, the PDP claimed that Shettima violated the Electoral Act by nominating himself twice for two different offices – Borno Central Senatorial District and Vice President – and asked the court to disqualify Tinubu and Shettima.
The Supreme Court held in its decision, among other things, that Shettima was not nominated twice and that a political party lacked locus standi to challenge the process used by another political party in nominating its candidates.
On May 30, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), lawyer to President Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima (listed as the second and third respondents in the APM petition), drew the court’s attention to the Supreme Court judgement and argued that, in light of the apex court’s finding in the PDP case, there were no issues to be determined by the PEPC in the APM petition.
Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), a lawyer for the All Progressives Congress (APC), agreed with Olanipekun.
However, the petitioner’s lawyer, Shehu Abubakar, denied knowledge of the judgement and requested time to access it, study it, and decide what next steps to take.
When the parties returned to court on Monday, a new lawyer, G. A. Idiagbonya, who represented the APM, said he received a copy of the judgement from Fagbemi.
“We have gone through the judgement and we believe that we can still proceed with the petition,” Idiagbonya said, asking the court to postpone the trial to a later date.
He stated that the petitioner intends to call a witness but requires time to retrieve some documents from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with which it intends to conduct its case.
Respondents’ lawyers, including INEC’s Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), Olanipekunq, and Charles Uwensuyi-Edosomwan (SAN), did not object to Idiagbonya’s request.
Olanipekun stated that he had also read the decision. He insisted, however, that the petitioner be allowed to return the next day for trial, which Idiagbonya refused, claiming that he needed time to obtain the documents from INEC.
Meanwhile, Justice Haruna Tsammani has postponed the ruling until Wednesday to allow for a trial.