The Supreme Court, on Thursday threw out the suit brought by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the nomination of Kashim Shettima as the running mate of the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the February 25th Presidential Elections.
The suit had claimed that Shettima’s nomination was against the law as he at same time held the party’s ticket for the Borno Central Senatorial seat.
Holding double nominations certainly breaches sections 29(1), 33, 35 and 84(1)(2) of the 2022 Electoral Act. This was the argument of the PDP
However, the 5-man panel of the Supreme Court gave its ruling on a technicality. The panel said it was a pre-election matter and PDP was not a member of the APC, and therefore had no locus standi to file the suit.
A human rights and activist lawyer, Inibehe Effiong had posted on social media handle (@InibeheEffiong), that the PDP could have persuaded a member of the APC that participated in the primaries to challenge Shettima’s nomination instead:
Here is what he posted:
“In law, strategy is important and can make nonsense of the substance of a case if not properly considered.”
“PDP could have persuaded one of the numerous aspirants who participated in the APC primary to challenge Shettima’s double nomination. But it decided to do so on its own.”
“The outcome was predictable. It wasn’t going to be tenable given the state of the law on pre-election matters.”
“It is tidier to raise it as a ground in the petition and contend that the double nomination eroded Tinubu/Shettima’s qualification. This case was always a distraction.”
While this might look straightforward, there is also another angle to this strategy. The PDP and Labour Party are also challenging Shettima’s double nomination at the election tribunal. They are seeking the disqualification of Shettima and Bola Tinubu based on the breaches of the Electoral Act.
Now with today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, the cases at the tribunal becomes more dicey because the issue of locus standi at the tribunal would be challenged.
Maybe the Supreme Court has boxed itself in with the early ruling. The coming days are going to be very interesting indeed.