2023: Court dismisses PDP’s suit seeking Tinubu, Obi’s disqualification

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The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking the disqualification of presidential candidates Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Peter Obi for substituting their running mates.

Recall that Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) chose Ibrahim Masari as placeholder vice-presidential candidate before his name was substituted with Senator Kashim Shettima.

Obi of the Labour Party (LP) chose Dr Doyin Okupe as placeholder before nominating Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed as the substantive vice-presidential candidate.

In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1016/2022, the PDP challenged the legality of the substitutions.

The party prayed the court to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to prevent Tinubu and Obi from replacing their running mates with Shettima and Baba-Ahmed respectively.

In the suit filed on its behalf by Gordy Uche SAN, the PDP asked the court to declare that Tinubu and Obi be disqualified unless they contest alongside their previous running mates – Masari and Okupe.

The party argued that the Electoral Act 2022 did not make any provision for a “placeholder”.

Ruling on the suit, Justice Donatus Okorowo said it lacked merit.

The judge held that that the issue of nomination and substitution of candidates is an internal affair of parties which courts have no jurisdiction to meddle in.

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