In the bid to stop the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Bola Tinubu and Labour Party (LP) candidate Peter Obi from selecting Kashim Shettima and Datti Baba-Ahmed as their running mates, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has filed a lawsuit against the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The PDP also asks the court to rule that Tinubu and Obi cannot run for office unless they do so with their respective former running mates, Kabiru Masari and Doyin Okupe.
In the originating summons with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1016/2022, the PDP is seeking an order barring the Independent National Electoral Commission from replacing the running mates of Tinubu and Obi.
The first to seventh respondents in the case are INEC, APC, Tinubu, Masari, Labour Party, Obi, and Okupe.
Recall that to meet the June 17 INEC deadline, Tinubu had selected Masari as a placeholder. Obi also nominated his campaign manager, Okupe, as an interim running mate.
After several weeks of deliberations, Masari and Okupe resigned, and Tinubu and Obi nominated Shettima and Baba-Ahmed.
However, the PDP has asked the court to determine if by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the constitution, Section 29(1), 31, and 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, and INEC’s timetable, Tinubu, and Obi are bound by the submission of Masari and Okupe respectively as their running mates.
The party further urged the court to decide whether the first defendant (INEC) can validly accept any change or substitution of the 4th (Masari) and 7th (Okupe) defendants as running mates of the 3rd (APC) and 6th (Labour Party) defendants by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Sections 29(1), 31, 33 of the Electoral Act 2022.
One of the reliefs reads: “A declaration that by the combined interpretation of Section 142(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Sections 29(1), 31, 33 of the Electoral Act 2022, the 1st defendant’s (INEC’s) election timetable, the 3rd (Tinubu) and 6th (Obi) cannot validly contest the 2023 Presidential election without the 4th (Masari) and 7th (Obi) respondents as their respective running mates.
The Electoral Act makes no provisions whatsoever for placeholder or temporary running mates. The acts of the 2nd (APC), 3rd (Tinubu), 5th (Labour Party ), and 6th (Obi) defendants in nominating and forwarding the names of the 4th (Masari) and 7th (Okupe) defendants as running mates for the 2023 Presidential elections is valid and subsisting.”