The Allied Peoples Movement (APM) has insisted on proceeding with its case before the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), challenging the victory of President Bola Tinubu at the last election.The APM is querying the legality of the joint ticket of Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima, arguing among others, that Shettima had double nomination, which it claimed rendered the joint ticket invalid.
The PEPC had, on May 30 suspended proceedings in the matter to enable parties obtain and study a judgment delivered on 26 judgment by the Supreme Court, dismissing a case by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in which the party sought to void the joint ticket of Tinubu and Shettima as presidential and vice presidential candidates of the APC in the last election.
The PDP had, in its case, claimed that Shettima violated the Electoral Act by allowing himself to be nominated twice for two different offices – Borno Central Senatorial district and Vice President, and prayed the court to disqualify Tinubu and Shettima.
In its judgment,the Supreme Court held among others, that Shettima was not nominated twice and that a political party lacked the locus standi to challenge the process adopted by another political in nominating its candidates.
Lawyer to President Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima (listed as the 2nd and 3rd respondents in the petition by the APM), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), on May 30, drew the court’s attention to the Supreme Court judgment and argued that, in view of the apex court’s finding in the PDP case, there was no longer issues to be determined by the PEPC in the petition by the APM.Lawyer to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) agreed with Olanipekun. But, the petitioner’s lawyer, Shehu Abubakar denied knowledge of the judgment and sought time to be allowed to access the judgement, study it and decide what further steps to take.
When parties returned to court on Monday, a new lawyer, who represented the APM, G. A. Idiagbonya said he got a copy of the judgment from Fagbemi.“We have gone through the judgment and we are of the opinion that we can still proceed with the petition,” Idiagbonya said and prayed the court for an adjournment to a later date for trial.
He said the petitioner intends to call a witness, but needed time to enable it retrieve some documents from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with which it planned to conduct its case.Lawyers to the respondents, including Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) for INEC, Olanipekunq and Charles Uwensuyi-Edosomwan (SAN), did not object to Idiagbonya’s request.
Olanipekun said he has also read the judgment. He however, insisted that the petitioner must be allowed to return the next day for trial, a request Idiagbonya objected to, insisting that he needed time to get the documents from INEC.Meanwhile, Justice Haruna Tsammani has adjourned the ruling till Wednesday for trial.