The Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and its presidential candidate, Chichi Ojei, have asked the Supreme Court to nullify and void all the votes scored by President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25 presidential election.
The prayer is part of the reliefs contained in the appeal of the APM filed by their counsel, Chukwuma Machukwu-Ume (SAN), challenging the judgment of the Presidential Election Petitions Court which dismissed their petition for lack of locus standi, being a pre-election matter and abuse of court process over a similar judgment at the Supreme Court.
But in the appeal dated October 2, 2023, APM contended that the lower court either misunderstood or misinterpreted their case and the provisions of Section 142(1) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 read in conjunction with the Electoral Act, 2022 on the issue of qualification or disqualification of Tinubu and his deputy, Kashim Shettima.
Machukwu-Ume submitted that the complaint is not based on Section 285 (9) or 285(14) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 as misunderstood by the lower court, adding that Section 142 is not only tied to sections 131 and 137 of the constitution but also Section 33 of the Electoral Act 2022 on the procedure for the nomination of Tinubu and Shettima.
While faulting the striking out of the name of Kabiru Masari, the former placeholder for the running mate position of the APC, whom he described as a relevant party to the suit, the APM submitted that Masari’s replacement as the vice presidential candidate of the APC, was invalid by the provisions of the law.
Machukwu-Ume submitted that on June 24, 2022, Masari withdrew his candidacy while on July 15, 2022, Shettima was purportedly forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the replacement, which was outside the time provided by the law.
He averred that “In the instant case, the 5th Respondent (Masari) having withdrawn, for there to be a validly nominated running candidate to 3rd Respondent (Tinubu), the 4th Respondent (Shettima) must be nominated within a window period of 14 days from the time of withdrawal contemplated under Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022. We humbly refer my lords to see the clear provisions of Section 33 of the Electoral Act 2022.
“Failure of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents (APC, Tinubu, and Shettima) to comply to the mandatory requirements of Chapter 6 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) renders the declaration of the 3rd and 4th Respondents (Tinubu and Shettima) by the 1st Respondent (INEC) invalid and liable to be held void by this honourable court.”