President-elect, Bola Tinubu, has asked the election tribunal to dismiss the petition filed by the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) against him.
In its petition marked: CA/PEPC/04/2023, APM argued that the withdrawal of Mr. Ibrahim Masari who was initially nominated as the Vice-Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, invalidated Tinubu’s candidacy in view of Section 131(c) and 142 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
However, Tinubu, through his legal team led by Chief Akin Olujinmi, SAN, urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lacking in merit and substance.
When the petition was called for hearing on Tuesday, the aggrieved party, through its legal team led by Mr. M. O. Atoyebi, SAN, adopted answers it filed on April 21, in response to pre-hearing information sheet that was issued by the court.
While Abubakar Mahmood, SAN, led the team of eight Senior Advocates of Nigeria that appeared for the INEC, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, represented the APC just as Yomi Aliyu appeared for Masari.
Meanwhile, after all the parties had adopted their answers, the Justice Haruna Tsammani led five-member panel adjourned further pre-hearing session on the petition till Thursday.
The tribunal thereafter, directed all the parties to identify all applications and documents they would either concede to or object to during full-blown hearing of the matter.
It further equally directed the parties to outline issues to be determined in the petition.
It is the case of the petitioner that there was a gap of about three weeks between the period that Masari, who was listed as the 5th Respondent in the petition, expressed intention to withdraw, the actual withdrawal of his purported nomination, and the time Tinubu purportedly replaced him with Senator Kashim Shettima.
APM further argued that Tinubu’s candidature had elapsed as at the time he nominated Shettima as Masari’s replacement.
READ MORE: Election Tribunal: Action Alliance Withdraws Petition Against Tinubu
It posited that as at the time Tinubu announced Shettima as the Vice Presidential candidate, “he was no longer in a position, constitutionally, to nominate a running mate since he had ceased to be a presidential candidate of the 2nd Respondent having regards to the provisions of section 142 of the 1999 Constitution”.
The party equally argued that Masari’s initial nomination activated the joint ticket principle enshrined in the Constitution, stressing that his subsequent withdrawal invalidated the said joint ticket.
It, therefore, prayed the court to declare that Shettima was not qualified to contest as the Vice-Presidential candidate of the APC as at February 25 when the election was conducted by INEC having violated the provisions the of Section 35 of the Electoral Act, 2022.