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Supreme Court Dismisses Atiku's Suit Against Tinubu, Shettima Double Nomination

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The Supreme Court on 26th May 2023, dismissed the suit by the People's Democratic Party (PDP) seeking the disqualification of President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and its Vice Kashim Shettima, due to double nomination. The PDP, in the suit, had claimed that Shettima’s nomination as Tinubu’s running mate was in breach of the provisions of sections 29(1), 33, 35, and 84(1)(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022. The opposition argued that Shettma violated the Electoral Act by allowing himself to be nominated twice for two different offices Borno Central Senatorial district and Vice President.

In a judgment on Friday, a five-member panel of the apex court held that the appeal by the PDP was grossly lacking in merit. Justice Adamu Jauro, in the lead judgment, affirmed the earlier judgments of the Federal High Court and Court of Appeal, which dismissed the case on the grounds that the PDP lacked no locus standi to have sued to challenge the process of nomination of candidates by another party. He held that not being a member of the APC and a candidate in its primary election, the PDP cannot challenge the process the APC adopted in nominating its candidates.

The judge also held that Section 285(14)(c) of the Constitution, which the PDP relied on in bringing the case did not clothe it with the right to challenge INEC decisions and activities in relation to other political parties.

On the PDP’s request that it hear the case on merit, the court said since the 180 days within which the trial court could have heard the case and the 60 days for the Court of Appeal have elapsed, it no longer has the jurisdiction to consider the case on the merit.

“The position of the law has always been that no political party can challenge the nomination of a candidate of another political party “The position did not change in section 285(14)(c) of the constitution. No matter pained or disgruntled a political party is with the way and manner another political party is conducting or has conducted its affairs concerning its nomination of candidates for any position, it must keep mum and remain an onlooker for he lacks locus standi to challenge such nomination in court.

“Section 285(14)(c) of the constitution only allows a political party to challenge the decisions and activities of INEC disqualifying its own candidate from participating in an election,” Adamu stated.