It is a Pre-election matter — Tribunal dismisses Petition challenging Tinubu/Shettima’s nomination by APC

The Justice Haruna Tsammani led Presidential Election Petitions Court has declared that it lacks the power to hear the petition of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) challenging the nomination of President Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima as the flagbearers of the APC in the February 25, 2023 presidential election, saying such petitions are pre-election matters and ought to have been addressed at a high court.

While delivering judgement in the petition filed before the court, the tribunal held that the timeframe of 180 days within which to determine the issue had elapsed.

“The issue of qualification or disqualification is a constitutional one. The issue of disqualification or qualification is a pre-election matter. It must be determined before the conduct of the election. This court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter and even if it does it is status-barred because it is a pre-election matter.”

He stated that the matters of qualification and disqualification are guided by the provisions of sections 131 and 137(1)(a)(j) of the Nigerian Constitution. He also pointed out that the issue complained about was an internal affair of a political party and not one ought to a concern of another political party.

APM had contended that Tinubu and Shettima were not validly nominated to contest the February 25.

They argue that by the combined reading of sections 131(c) and 142(2) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 and Section 133 of the Electoral Act made them to invalid. They contend that when Kabiru Masari announced his withdrawal as an APC placeholder on June 24, 2022 to the date Shettima’s name was forwarded to INEC on July 14, 2022, was 21 days which breached Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022, which provides for 14 days for the replacement of a candidate for an election.

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