2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
Tinubu, Chicago State University, INEC and APM’s case
Some of the international legal issues facing Nigeria’s embattled and disputed occupant of the presidency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, are roaring back to the headlines.
Despite the concerted efforts by the Tinubu group to muddle the legal inquiry, it’s important to note the salient facts emerging from his claimed alma mater, Chicago State University.
Second, the latest litigation challenges to the credibility and veracity of the certifications/degrees which the controversial politician Tinubu presented as “qualifications” to the INEC and accepted by the INEC.
The errant INEC led by Prof. Yakubu who, evidently, hurriedly announced and declared Tinubu as “duly elected”.
It is in the light of these events that Nigerians are following the current international court case involving Nigeria’s former VP Atiku Abubakar and Chicago State University (CSU) regarding Tinubu’s qualification for the February 2023 disputed election.
Also, millions of voters are not aware that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal in Nigeria is dealing with three petitions — not two.
Regrettably, everybody especially the media have not cared to give adequate publicity to the petition of the Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM). There is a connection between the cases.
The argument has been made that how the court/tribunal rules on the APM’s petition will be the litmus test of whether Nigeria’s judiciary wants to contribute to entrenching democracy, the rule of law, fairness and justice in Nigeria or want to continue on what has become a path of manipulation and alleged purchased and procurement of favorable judgments that have made Nigerians to distrust its judiciary, which was regarded decades ago as Africa’s pride.
A constitutional lawyer has noted that: while Allied Peoples’ Movement filed its petition on the 20th day of March, 2023 challenging the return of the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Tinubu, the petitioner anchored its petition on the non-qualification of the aforementioned Tinubu.
The sole ground of the petition filed by the Allied Peoples’ Movement is in conformity with Section 134(1)(a) of the Electoral Act, 2022
Specifically, the Allied Peoples Movement contends that Bola Ahmed Tinubu was not qualified as at the time of the Presidential 2023 election as a consequence of his violation of the provisions of Sections 131(c) and 142 of the Constitution as well as Sections 33 and 35 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
Whilst it appears that the Supreme Court has by its decision in SC/CV/501/2023_PEOPLES’ DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP) VS INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC) & 3 ORS determined the violation of Section 35 of the Electoral Act, the violation of Sections 131(c) and 142 of the Constitution as well as Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022 remain extant.
It is worthy of note that the case of the Allied Peoples Movement as it relates to the extant violation of the Constitution and the Electoral Act is as follows:
i. The All Progressives Congress hitherto sponsored Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kabir Masari as its Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates respectively for the February 25, 2023 Presidential election.
ii. On the 24th of June, 2022, Kabir Masari in an affidavit deposed to at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, voluntarily withdrew from the Presidential election.
iii. Consequently, the All Progressives Congress purportedly replaced Kabir Masari with Kashim Shettima as its Vice-Presidential candidate on the 14th of July, 2022.
iv. By Section 33 of the Electoral Act, a political party can only substitute a withdrawn or dead candidate within 14 days of such withdrawal or death.
v. By a simple arithmetic calculation from 24th June, 2022 when Kabir Masari withdrew to the 14th day of July, 2022 when Kashim Shettima purportedly replaced him was a period of 3 weeks (that is 21 days) and this is a clear violation of Section 33 of the Electoral Act.
The Petition of the Allied Peoples Movement was an undefended petition as it relates to the violation of Sections 131(c) and 142 of the Constitution as well as Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022 as the Respondents did not call any witness nor contradict the testimony of the Petitioner’s Sole Witness.
Interestingly, the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress admitted that the Kabir Masari withdrew from the Presidential election on the 24th of June, 2022 and was replaced with Kashim Shettima on the 14th of July, 2022; a period of 3weeks.
The law is clear as to the parties that have the requisite locus standi to present a petition. By virtue of Section 133(1) of the Electoral Act, the Allied Peoples Movement, being a political party which participated in the Presidential election, has the requisite locus to present a petition to challenge the return made by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the last Presidential election.
Section 133(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 provides thus:
133.(1) An election petition may be presented by one or more of the following persons-
(a)a candidate in an election; or
(b)a political party which participated in the election
It is not in doubt that the Allied Peoples Movement participated in the last Presidential election and this singular fact confers her with the requisite locus standi to present a petition to complain about the return made by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the Presidential election.
The Electoral Act, 2022 specifically restricts the consequential order to be made by the Tribunal for a petition anchored on non-qualification. By Section 136(2) of Electoral Act, 2022, where a petitioner succeeds in proving the non-qualification of the person returned elected, the tribunal shall declare the person with the second highest number of valid votes cast at the election who satisfies the requirements of the Constitution and the Electoral Act as duly elected.
The Electoral Act has by Section 136(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022 circumscribed the powers of the Tribunal as it relates to the order it can make as it relates to the grounds of the Petition and the Tribunal cannot do otherwise. This is regardless of who the Petitioner is.
Quo vadis Nigria? To be or not to be? That’s the reality that confronts Nigeria’s judicial system.
Nigerians are hopeful yet harbour deep doubt as to whether the Judiciary will find the courage and gumption to rule on this case strictly on the merits of strict jurisprudence and not on the basis of whim, caprice and unlawful pressure that defer to political persuasion.
Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.
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