The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s main opposition party, on Wednesday, approached a Federal High Court in Abuja seeking the disqualification of Bola Tinubu and all candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 general election.
The PDP also asked the court to sack of all National Working Committee (NWC) members of APC.
The Abdullahi Adamu-led NWC took over the affairs of APC after the party’s national convention in March this year.
In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1864/2022, and filed through Ayo Kamaldeen Ajibade, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), PDP is contesting the legality of the process that produced the party’s national officers.
The fresh suit is predicated on a recent judgment of a Federal High Court, which nullified the nomination of Osun State governor, Gboyega Oyetola and his deputy, Benedict Alabi, as APC candidates in the July governorship election.
The presiding judge, Emeka Nwite, who delivered the ruling on September 30, in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/468/2022 held that the nomination of Oyetola and his deputy was unlawful.
The court based its judgment on the grounds that Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, who submitted their names to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), violated the provisions of Section 183 of the Constitution and Section 82(3) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
Buni was then the acting chairman of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).
Consequently, the PDP is praying the court to void the APC NWC as well as all candidates produced by the party for the 2023 general elections on the claim that they were produced in breach of the 1999 Constitution, the party’s Constitution and Electoral Act 2022.
The case file has been assigned to Inyang Ekwo, a federal high court judge. Ekwo has fixed November 22 for mention of the suit with an order that all the 53 persons listed by PDP as defendants be served with hearing notices in their respective locations.
APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; the party’s vice-presidential candidate, Kashim Shettima, as well as governorship candidates, their running mates, Senatorial and House of Representatives candidates were listed as defendants in the suit.
In a related development, the Federal High Court has constituted a special task force of judges to swiftly hear and determine all pre-election cases before it.
Chief Judge of the Federal Court, Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, who constituted the task force, said it became necessary to designate a team of judges following the large volume of pre-election suits that have flooded the court.
The Assistant Director, Information of the Federal High Court, Catherine Oby Christopher, in a statement on Wednesday said a circular issued by the Chief Judge asked judges who are members of the task force to suspend all regular cases in their respective courts, due to the urgency of the electoral cases, which are time-bound.
The statement said: “In view of the large volume of pre-election cases filed so far, with the imminent attendant risk of lapsing, it has become necessary to constitute a task force to speedily dispose of the matters, particularly in those judicial divisions with a glut of them.”
Tsoho further stated that the judges would have four weeks to dispose of the pre-election cases.