THE All Progressives Congress (APC) has filed a petition to dismiss petitions filed by three opposition parties contesting the election of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as its presidential candidate.
The political parties Action Alliance (AA), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), and Action Peoples Party (APP) had contested Tinubu’s victory in the presidential election on February 25 in separate petitions.
In its petition, the APM claimed that Tinubu was ineligible to run for office due to the alleged double nominating of his vice-presidential candidate.
The party took issue with Shettima’s replacement of the original vice presidential candidate, Kabir Masari.The APP petitioned that Tinubu was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest for the presidency under the provisions of sections 131(c) and 142 of the Constitution and Section 35 of the Electoral Act 2022.
The AA sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, its presidential candidate, and the President-elect, Tinubu, while also asking that the presidential election is declared void.
In response to the suits, the APC, in three separate counter-petitions, prayed to the tribunal to dismiss the petitions.
The party wrote to the tribunal on Sunday, April 9, through its legal team led by Lateef Fagbemi, SAN.
The APC argued that its candidate was duly elected, having won the majority of lawful votes cast in the presidential election.
It maintained that the petitions were baseless and without merit.
The party noted that facts are unavailable “to validate the petitioners’ claims and/or purported right to present the instant petition”.
“For an election petition to be competent, it must complain against the return and/or election of the winner of the disputed election.
“The instant petition is neither challenging and/or questioning the election of the 2nd and/or 3rd respondent (APC/Tinubu).
“The petition as presently constituted amounts to a pre-election matter of nomination and sponsorship of candidate(s).
“The crux of the petition being the nomination and sponsorship of the 1st petitioner’s candidate is statute-barred, having not been commenced within the mandatory 14 days provided for under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999,” the APC noted.
The party faulted the competence of the petitions by the APP, APM, and AA, adding that they are based solely on pre-election issues.
“Issues of nomination, sponsorship, and exclusion of candidates for an election are issues that precede the conduct of an election and are pre-election matters that cannot be raised or canvased before an election tribunal.
“Facts in support of the petition speak to intra —party issues, pre-election disputes, and administrative actions of INEC triable by Federal High Court under Section 285 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as altered by the 4th Alteration Act and outside the original jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal being a Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.”
The presidential election
The 2023 presidential election took place on February 25. Tinubu, the ruling party candidate, won the tight race and is to succeed Muhammadu Buhari as the next President of Nigeria.
Tinubu won with 8,794,726 votes, defeating 17 other candidates.
According to INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, Tinubu, “having satisfied the law requirements,” was declared the winner “and is returned elected”.
The election is, however, surrounded by controversies. A number of political parties are calling for the annulment of what they call a “sham” election after questioning the election’s conduct and results.
The results of the election have been the subject of numerous legal challenges from opposing parties.
Both the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Atiku Abubakar and the Labour Party’s (LP) Peter Obi are contesting the results of the election.
The party objected to Shettima’s substitution of Kabir Masari, the initial vice presidential candidate.
According to the provisions of sections 131(c) and 142 of the Constitution as well as Section 35 of the Electoral Act of 2022, Tinubu was not eligible to run for president at the time of the election, according to the APP petition.