The Presidential Election Petitions Court, led by Justice Haruna Tsammani, has announced that it does not have the authority to hear the petition submitted by the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) regarding the nomination of President Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima as the flagbearers for the APC in the upcoming presidential election on February 25, 2023. The court stated that these types of petitions are considered pre-election matters and should have been dealt with in a higher court.
During the court’s judgment on the petition, the tribunal stated that the 180-day timeframe to resolve the issue had passed.
“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.
According to their argument, the combination of sections 131(c) and 142(2) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999, and Section 133 of the Electoral Act resulted in their invalidity. They claim that the period between Kabiru Masari’s withdrawal as an APC placeholder on June 24, 2022, and the submission of Shettima’s name to INEC on July 14, 2022, was 21 days, which exceeds the 14-day limit for replacing a candidate for an election as stipulated in Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2022.