Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and former Nigeria Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has described the Supreme Court ruling that described him and the PDP as busybody, and intruder into other people’s internal affairs, as a court decision that will not stop him and his legal team from proving beyond reasonable doubt that the declared winner of February 25, 2023 presidential election, Bola Ahmed Tinubu of All Progressives Congress, APC is not qualified to have contested in the poll.
Atiku Abubakar stated this on Friday after the Supreme Court put to rest the tension and contemplations of some Nigerians over possible stoppage of Tinubu inauguration as the 16th Nigeria President on Monday, May 29, 2023.
The Supreme Court thrown out the suit filed by the PDP and its candidate, Atiku Abubakar challenging the alleged double nomination of the vice-president elect, Kashim Shettima.
It was widely believed that the President-elect, Bola Tinubu may fail to become Nigeria President as any ruling against Shettima may affect May 29 inauguration.
Supreme Court, in its ruling on Friday, agreed with the lower courts that the PDP lacks the locus Standi to institute the case.
Justice Adamu Jauro said the PDP acted as meddlesome Interloper and a busy body as as the issue of double nomination of Kashim Shettima picking the nomination form of Borno Central Senatorial district and Vice Presidential nomination form is an internal affair of the APC.
The judge then awarded the sum of ₦2 million against the PDP even as the suit was dismissed for lacking in merit.
The PDP, in the suit filed on July 28, 2022, had claimed that Shettima’s nomination as Tinubu’s running mate was in breach of the provisions of sections 29(1), 33, 35, and 84(1)(2) of the electoral act, 2022.
The party argued that Shettima’s nomination to contest the position of vice-president and Borno central senatorial seat — at the same time — contravened the law.
The PDP, which sought an order disqualifying the APC, Tinubu, and Shettima from contesting the presidential election, also sought an order nullifying their candidacies.
However, Inyang Ekwo, the trial judge, dismissed the suit on the grounds that the PDP lacked the locus standi to institute the suit.
Not satisfied, the PDP appealed the judgment.
Delivering judgment in the appeal, a three-member panel of the court of appeal led by James Abundaga held that the PDP failed to establish that it had locus standi to institute the case.
Abundaga described the PDP as a “busybody”, who dabbled into issues that were internal affairs of the APC.
“The appellant, having failed to disclose its locus standi, this appeal fails and it is hereby dismissed,” he said.
The judge also awarded ₦5 million cost against the appellant’s lawyer, J. O. Olotu.
Reacting to the Supreme Court ruling, Atiku Abubakar said that his hopeful that the Justices in election court will make a pronouncement that will serve as a deterrent to mandate bandits.
“The Supreme Court’s dismissal of the case of the PDP is not a setback to my quest for justice. Our legal team are primed to robustly prove that the election of February 25 was fraudulent, did not comply with the constitutional requirements and the electoral guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission and that the announced winner was not even qualified to contest the poll.
“The battle for democracy and the enthronement of a new order to spur growth and development in Nigeria is one to which I have committed my all and for which I am not ready to walk away at this point when our nation is at crossroads. We know that sooner than later, our esteemed Justices will make the pronouncement that will serve as a befitting requiem for mandate bandits.
“I urge my supporters to exercise patience and conduct themselves peaceably as we diligently conduct our litigation at the Presidential Election Tribunal Court. -AA”, Atiku stated in quote.