25.05.2023 news ‘Tinubu Might Be Disqualified’ — Lawyers Debate Suit Against Shettima’s Nomination

Published 25th May, 2023

By Tola Owoyele

On Monday, the Supreme Court set May 26 for judgement in a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to challenge Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the president-elect’s victory.

While suing, the PDP accused Kashim Shettima, Tinubu’s running mate and vice-president-elect, of double nomination as a vice-presidential candidate and senatorial candidate in the 2023 general elections.

Against this backdrop, FIJ spoke with three lawyers to find out if the suit could prevent the inauguration of Tinubu slated for May 29.

READ ALSO: Tribunal Rejects LP’s Request to Present Witnesses in 7 Weeks

“Yes, the suit can affect the inauguration ceremony,” said Ridwan Oke, a Lagos State-based lawyer.

“It would mean that Shettima was not even qualified to be nominated in the first place. This also automatically affects the ticket as it goes to the root of the process.”

When asked if the All Progressives Congress (APC) could appeal a negative ruling, Oke ruled out the possibility.

“Supreme Court rulings are final. There is no room for an appeal once judgement is passed,” said Oke.

“Now, if Tinubu gets thrown out, Atiku getting sworn-in would depend on whether the prayer in the PDP application also requested for such. However, one thing is clear, Buhari won’t continue as president. It is either the court declares Atiku as president or the court rules that Shettima’s double nomination still does not affect the ticket that brought Tinubu to office.”

READ ALSO: TIMELINE: Nigerian Presidential Election Results and Court Rulings From 1999

Festus Ogun, another Lagos State-based lawyer, shared a different view entirely.

“I know as a matter of fact that the issue of double nomination is a pre-election matter,” Ogun said.

“Given that it is a pre-election matter, I honestly do not feel another political party, by virtue of Section 285, sub-Section 14 A, B and C of the Nigerian Constitution, can question the validity of the nomination of a candidate of another political party.

“That means that Party A cannot question the nomination of a candidate contesting on the platform provided by Party B.

“If you want to challenge a candidate’s nomination, you have to be from the same party as the person whose candidature you’re challenging. You must also be an aspirant who contested in the same election as the person you’re challenging.

“Being an issue of nomination, no other party can question or challenge someone else’s candidature except someone from within the party. Another political party does not have the locus standi to do that.”

READ ALSO: How Does the Presidential Election Tribunal Work?

Tailorson Nwanni, an Ogun State-based lawyer, told FIJ that the ruling might nullify Tinubu’s inauguration.

“If the ruling isn’t in the APC’s favour, Tinubu will not be sworn-in on May 29. We are talking about a joint ticket here, and whatever affects a vice-presidential candidate also affects the presidential candidate,” said Nwani.

“There are actually precedents to this. In February 2020, David Lyon was sacked as Bayelsa State Governor by the Supreme Court because Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, his deputy, presented a forged certificate to INEC to aid his educational qualification.

“The same principle applies here. If anything invalidates a running mate’s qualification to run for office, such would automatically invalidate the main candidate’s ticket as well.”

Published 25th May, 2023

By Tola Owoyele


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