APM concludes case against Tinubu
The Allied Peoples Movement concluded its case against the President, Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday after it called one witness to testify before the Presidential Election Petition Court.
In its petition, the APM is challenging the election of Tinubu on the grounds that his Vice President, Kashim Shettima, had double nominations as a senatorial and Vice Presidential candidate before the February 25 elections.
The party prayed the court to nullify Tinubu’s victory on the grounds that the process that brought about his declaration as president by the Independent National Electoral Commission was “flawed”.
Cited as respondents in the matter are INEC, President Tinubu, Vice President Shettima, their party, the All Progressives Congress, and Ibrahim Masari.
During the resumed hearing on the matter and while cross-examining the witness, counsel for INEC, Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, asked if she was privy to the notice of substitution of a candidate for the Borno Central Senatorial District ticket received by the electoral commission, to which she answered in the negative.
The senior advocate tendered a letter dated July 6, which the APC addressed to the INEC chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu.
In the letter, the APC said it withdrew Shettima’s nomination for the Borno Central Senatorial District election and invited the electoral commission to observe its supplementary primary election to field a replacement for Shettima in view of the senatorial candidature of Borno Central.
Pinheiro said an earlier judgement by the Supreme Court that dismissed a similar suit filed by another party, the Peoples Democratic Party, was based on the APC’s letter announcing Shettima’s withdrawal from the senatorial race.
Other respondents, including Tinubu and the APC, adopted INEC’s defence.
On his part, counsel for the APC, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, presented a certified true copy of the Supreme Court judgement that dismissed the PDP’s suit against Shettima’s alleged dual nomination.
The witness confirmed the authenticity of the apex court decision, which was subsequently admitted in evidence.
In a similar vein, counsel for Tinubu, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, informed the court of several paragraphs of the Supreme Court verdict, which Abubakar read in open court.
The senior advocate sought to establish the frivolity of the petition challenging Tinubu’s victory.
After the witness was discharged, a subpoenaed witness from INEC, John Arabs, a deputy director, tendered an “original online form submitted by Mr Shettima,” amongst other electoral documents.
After listening to all the lawyers in the suit, the chairman of the panel, Justice Haruna Tsammani, directed the respondents to file their final written addresses within 10 days from Wednesday.
He ordered the APM to file its written address within seven days from the date of the respondents’ filing and adjourned the hearing in the suit until July 14 for the adoption of written addresses.
Before Wednesday’s proceeding, the case of the APM suffered a lull due to a recent Supreme Court judgement that ruled in a similar matter it filed before the PEPC.
Counsel for Tinubu, Olanipekun, informed the court on May 30 of the judgement, which, according to him, appears to have resolved the same issue the APM has brought before the court.
He had referenced the Supreme Court’s decision of Friday, May 26, that dismissed the suit filed by the PDP, which prayed to the court to nullify the ticket that produced the president and his vice president on grounds of double nomination.
Olanipekun sought to know if the decision of the Apex Court does not affect the case of the APM, which is also challenging the outcome of the election on the grounds of using a placeholder, Kabir Masari, for the elected vice-president, Kassim Shettima.
At the resumed hearing on the petition on Monday, counsel for APM, G.A. Idiagbonya, informed the court that he still wants to go ahead with the case despite Olanikpekun’s reminder of the apex court’s judgement.
He said he has received the Supreme Court judgement sought to be used to terminate its petition.
He said that upon perusal of the judgement by the Supreme Court, he and his legal team insist on proceeding with the instant petition.