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Tinubu, APC order to file responses to opposition party’s applications

The Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja on Tuesday ordered the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, to file their responses to all pending applications in the case instituted by the Allied Peoples Movement (APM).

Nigeria’s electoral commission, INEC, declared Mr Tinubu winner of the 25 February presidential election.

But the APM, among other opposition political parties with their presidential candidates, is urging the court to nullify Mr Tinubu’s victory on account of “his non-qualification as a candidate of” the APC.

At a pre-hearing session of the court on Tuesday, after taking submissions from lawyers to parties in the APM’s petition, a five-member panel of the court led by Haruna Tsammani, ordered all parties to file their responses to all pending applications before the next hearing date.

Mr Tsammani adjourned the petition until Thursday for continuation of the pre-hearing session.

Lawyers submissions
On Tuesday, APM’s lawyer, Oyetola Atoyebi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), informed the court that his client had responded to questions bordering on the pre-hearing session.

INEC lawyer, Abubakar Mahmoud, a SAN, said the commission,on 5 May, filed its responses to the pre-hearing questions.

“We have three applications listed and we will be moving the applications at the appropriate time,” Mr Mahmoud said.

Lateef Fagbemi, a SAN, who represents the APC and Akin Olujimi, another representing the vice president-elect Kashim Shettima and Mr Tinubu, both said they had responded to the preliminary questions raised by the court.

Similarly, Yomi Aliyu, lawyer to Kabiru Masari who was Mr Tinubu’s running mate, said his client filed responses to the pre-hearing questions on 3 May.

APM is in his petition urging the court to void “all the votes scored” by Mr Tinubu in the presidential election in view of his non-qualification as a candidate of” the APC.

The party wants the court to declare the presidential candidate of a rival party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, who is also purrsuing his separate petition, as the winner of the electoin.

The petitioner argued that Mr Tinubu’s victory will not stand due to the “flawed process” of nominating his vice presidential pick, Kashim Shettima.

Mr Tinubu while submitting his presidential nomination form to INEC in June 2022, chose Ibrahim Masari, a politician from President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state Katsina, as a “placeholder” for the substantive vice presidential candidate who would later be Mr Shettima.

Mr Tinubu’s initial choice of Mr Masari was a strategy to beat INEC’s deadline of 17 June 2022, for presidential candidates to submit names of their vice presidential picks.

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Logo (PHOTO CREDIT: ICIR)APM contended that Mr Tinubu nominated Mr Masari and forwarded the latter’s name to INEC as a vice presidential candidate.

Referencing Sections 131 (C) and 142 of the constitution, the petitioner said Mr Masari “withdrew his purported nomination thereby invalidating the nomination” of Mr Tinubu as APC’s presidential candidate.

The three-week gap between the period of Mr Masari’s notice of withdrawal and his actual pull-out from the contest, APM argued that by the time Mr Tinubu picked Mr Shettima as his running mate, the president-elect’s “candidature had lapsed” and he was no longer in a position constitutionally to nominate a running mate since he had ceased to be a presidential candidate of the APC.

In its petition, the APM whose presidential candidate, Chichi Ojei, polled 25,961 votes, argued that Mr Tinubu was not properly sponsored by the APC by fielding Mr Shettima as vice presidential candidate for the election.

According to the petitioner, the validity of Mr Tinubu’s nomination as APC’s presidential candidate was “hinged” on his running mate.

APM contended that Mr Tinubu nominated Mr Masari and forwarded the latter’s name to INEC as a vice presidential candidate.

In a copious reference to Sections 131 (C) and 142 of the constitution, the petitioner said Mr Masari “withdrew his purported nomination thereby invalidating the nomination” of Mr Tinubu as APC’s presidential candidate.

Prevail Inegbenose

Prevail Inegbenose is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Spark Media & Entertainment Ventures, the publisher of Spark News Daily - Nigeria's most sought-after online news platform - Politics, Sport & Entertainment. Prevail Inegbenose hails from Irrua, Esan Central LGA of Edo State. He studied Mass Communication from the prestigious Auchi Polytechnic Auchi and graduated in 2007. Prevail Inegbenose is a veteran journalist with 15 years of active and practical journalism. He has authored so many write-ups, a lot of which had been published in the newspapers, magazines and social media. Hence Prevail Inegbenose is a Journalist, Writer, Researcher, Author, Communication Expert and Consultant, Social Media Influencer, Project Management Expert, Peace Ambassador and Advocate of Good Governance and Better Society. He's a Pastor, in fact the Lead Pastor, House of God Int'l - Rest Tabernacle, Abuja Nigeria.

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